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Announcement of Opportunity (AO-1) of Astro-E2


1. Overview

This is an announcement for researchers affiliated with institutions or universities located in Japan or countries other than USA or ESA member states, soliciting proposals for participation in the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science/Japan Aero-space Exploration Agency (ISAS/JAXA) program for conducting observations with the Astro-E2 X-ray observatory, currently scheduled for launche in February, 2005. The AO-1 covers a 1-year of observations beginning in September, 2005.

US based scientists should consult the parallel announcement at

while scientists in ESA member countries should consult the version at

This version is applicable to scientists based in all other countries. We would like to enhance scientific cooperation between non-US or non-ESA and Japanese scientists. Thus, PIs affiliated with institutions located in other countries than USA , ESA Member States or Japan are also eligible to propose for Astro-E2 guest investigations through ISAS/JAXA according to the present announcement.

2. Astro-E2 X-ray observatory

The mission is equipped with five high throughput X-ray telescopes (XRTs) to cover up to 12 keV. A high resolution spectrometer (XRS) and four CCD cameras (XISs) are placed at foci of the telescopes. A hard X-ray detector (HXD) points in the same direction as the XRTs and covers up to 600 keV. The major features of Astro-E2 are its high energy resolution (E/dE ~ 1000 at 6 keV) and its broad energy coverage from 0.2 to 600 keV. Because the life time of the XRS cryogen is limited (estimated to be about 2.5 years), it is suggested that emphasis will be placed upon observations requiring the cryogenically cooled XRS during the early phase. The detailed mission description can be found in the following web site:

3. Mission phases and time allocation

The operational phases consist of three distinct phases which are divided into sub-phases.

Phase-0: Covers the first month when the basic functions of the satellite will be tested and initial operations are started for all scientific instruments by extending the optical bench and opening the doors.

Phase-I starts when the mission is ready for scientific observations and lasts until the XRS becomes unable to observe because of the lack of cryogen, roughly 2.5 years after the launch. It will be divided into three or four sub-phases (Ia-Ic; Id will be added if the cryogen lifetime exceeds 2.5 years). In Phase-II, the XRS will no longer be available so that only the XIS and HXD will be operated. Observations will be conducted along with the observation plans by the Science Working Group (SWG) of Astro-E2, Japanese AO, US AO and proposals from across the world, with time alloted as summarized in the following table. A portion of Japanese time has been allocated to ESA observers. Non-US and non-ESA observers are solicited to propose to the Japanese time (present AO).

Phase (terms)SWGJapan (ESA)USJ/US
Phase-0(0-1 Mo)0%0%0%0%
Phase-Ia(2-7 Mo)100000
Phase-Ib(8-19 Mo)2537.5 (6)32.55
Phase Ic(20-31 Mo)1542.5 (7)37.55
Phase Id(32-? Mo)050 (8)37.512.5
Phase-II060 (10)3010

The present announcement covers observations for Phase-Ib. Of the total observation time, 5% will be reserved for maintenance and calibration purposes while 3% will be reserved for target of opportunity (TOO) observations. The remaining observation time will be allocated as shown in the table. In this AO-1 (Phase-Ib), the actual observation time is estimated to be 3,860 ksec for Japanese time excluding the ESA portion. In the merging process, if two individual proposals are recommended in US and Japan for the same target, they will be merged, when both PI's presented their wish to collaborate on the application form. Proposals from non-US, non-ESA countries will be accepted in the Japanese time up to the ESA portion.

4. Observing Constraints

The Astro-E2 SWG has decided the target list of observations for the SWG time in Phase-Ia and Ib. Proposals to observe targets in this list will not be accepted without a strong justification, such as a much longer exposure, different pointing within an extended object, or different observing window of a variable object.

The length of the observation time in the proposal must be justified by showing the feasibility with simulations. The minimum allowed exposure time of an observation is 10 ksec due to operational constraints. While in principle there is no upper limit to the exposure, proposals with longer exposure times should address more important science, in general.

Observation times can be requested for a specific time (such as for specific binary phase) or for simultaneous campaigns (time critical observations). Target of opportunity (TOO) observations can be proposed for those objects with a high scientific importance that involve rapidly evolving phenomena whose occurrence cannot be predicted accurately. Such a proposal should state specific target names, position, triggering conditions, duration of events and the possibility of occurrence. Proposals for generic TOOs (e.g., the next Galactic supernova) are not allowed through this process. A separate mechanism will be established for such unpredictable targets. For gamma-ray bursts, the SWG has allocated 200 ksec to perform coordinated observations following alerts from other monitoring satellites. Therefore, no other proposals will be accepted for gamma-ray bursts.

5. Review process and schedule

Proposals may be submitted from May 18 through August 18. They will be reviewed by a board of scientists in the fields of X-ray astrophysics and other relevant fields. After adding ESA proposals, the selected target list will be merged with the list selected in the US. The final list will be announced in December 2004. Accepted targets are prioritized in three categories. Priority A targets must be observed during the term. Priority B targets will be observed during the term but could be carried over to the next term. Priority C targets can be observed if there is a slot of observation time, but will not be carried over to the following term if they are not observed during the current term. The fraction of observation time is A:B:C = 50% : 40% : 50% (40% more than the available time). TOO and time critical observations should be scientifically more important (category ``A'' targets).

6. Data rights

The data will be delivered to the successful proposer after standard processing has been carried and will go into the public domain one year after the delivery of data to the proposer. The data of the Phase-Ia (100% SWG time) will be open to public at the end of Phase-Ib. The data of generic TOO's and gamma-ray bursts observed in the mission TOO time and SWG time will belong to the Astro-E2 team for one year at least during Phase-Ia and Ib).

==================Proposal Submission========================

1. Observations

X-ray observations with Astro-E2 observatory from September 2005 through August 2006.

2. Who may propose

Principal investigators (PI's) have to be affiliated with institutions or universities located in Japan or countries other than US or ESA member states. PI's at US institutions and those in ESA member states should submit to NASA or ESA, respectively. PI's in other countries should send proposals to Japan. When a graduate student is a PI, his/her supervisor should be assigned as a Co-nvestigators. Scientists, who stay in US or in ESA member states by a fund from Japanese organizations, are able to submit to ISAS or NASA/ESA.

The requirement of affiliation with above institution does not extend to Co-Investigators. In case of proposals from coutries other than Japan, US, and ESA member countries, collaboration with Japanese colleagues is strongly encouraged. Proposals without Japanese co-I's can be submitted, and some Japanese advisors will be introduced after the acceptance.

3. Due date of proposals

12:00 JST (03:00 UT) on August 18, 2004. Printed material should be postmarked no later than this date in Japan. In case of posting from outside of Japan, express air mail should be used.

4. Proposal format

The following two items are both necessary.

(1) RPS (Remote Proposal Submission system) submission: Note that the observation parameters in the electrical form must be accurate because they will be forwarded on-line to the satellite operation system.

(2) 7 sets of hard copy of the proposal have to be submitted to the following address:

Hideyo Kunieda
Institute of Space and Astronautical Science
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
3-1-1, Yoshinodai, Sagamihara
Kanagawa, 229-8510

The proposal form consists of
(1) Cover Page (1 page),
(2) Target Form (1 page),
(3) Scientific Justification (scientific problem and technical feasibility) (maximum 4 pages; includes text, figures, charts, and tables)

5. Supplemental Information

For details, see the mission description available at

If you have questions, please contact
Hideyo Kunieda