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1. Introduction

Suzaku is the fifth in the series of Japanese astronomy satellites devoted to observations of celestial X-ray sources, following the highly successful Hakucho, Tenma, Ginga and ASCA satellites. Like ASCA, Suzaku is a joint Japanese-US mission, developed by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (part of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, ISAS/JAXA) in collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC) and many other institutions. Suzaku was launched on a Japanese M-V rocket on July 10, 2005 from the JAXA Uchinoura Space Center. Despite initial success, on August 8, 2005 a thermal short between the helium and neon tanks resulted in the liquid helium coolant venting to space, leaving the X-Ray Spectrometer (XRS) inoperable. However, the X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (XIS) and Hard X-ray Detector (HXD) are all working well. As a result, Suzaku retains its excellent X-ray sensitivity, with high throughput over a broad-band energy range of 0.2 to 600 keV. Suzaku's broad bandpass, low background, and good CCD resolution makes it a unique tool capable of addressing a variety of outstanding problems in astrophysics.

Guest observing time on Suzaku will be awarded on a competitive basis and proposals will be judged on their scientific merits and their relevance to Suzaku observing capabilities. The overall purpose of this document is to aid potential users of Suzaku in proposing for time during the Guest Observer (GO) phase of the mission. In particular, upon reading this document, the proposer should be able to determine whether or not Suzaku is best suited to conduct the investigation in question. This should be demonstrated in the proposal, preferably using simulations of the proposed observations. All proposals should clearly answer the following four questions:

  1. Is Suzaku capable of the proposed observation?
  2. Is it the best available instrument for the investigation?
  3. When can Suzaku observe a given source?
  4. How much exposure time is required to meet the scientific goals?

Chapter 2 summarizes the principal characteristics of the detectors on-board Suzaku. Chapter 3 covers how the satellite time will be allocated. This includes the data rights and available time for GOs, as well as policies regarding Targets of Opportunity (TOOs). In addition, observational constraints due to the orbit, sun angle, and the pointing accuracy are described. Finally, the proposal process is reviewed, including how to submit a proposal, how they will be evaluated, and how observations will be scheduled, performed, and the results disseminated. US proposers should note especially the NASA requirements regarding the relevance of the proposed science to NASA's mission.

Chapter 4 explains how to write a strong proposal, including a summary of what constraints must be met, and what must be included in the proposal. In most cases, existing X-ray data can be used to estimate the likely Suzaku count rates. Simulation tools, including XSPEC and PIMMS, will assist in this and are covered in detail with examples.

The last three chapters describe the telescopes and instruments on Suzaku. Chapter 5 covers the five X-ray Telescopes (XRTs) on Suzaku. Chapter 6 reviews the X-ray Imaging Spectrometers (XISs), four CCDs with moderate spectral resolution and a large field of view. Chapter 7 explains the operation of the Hard X-ray Detector (HXD), which extends the high energy bandpass of Suzaku to 600 keV.


This document was prepared using the best current knowledge of the Suzaku satellite by the Suzaku teams at ISAS/JAXA and NASA/GSFC as of October 2006. It is possible that information contained in this document may contain inadvertent errors or omissions. We welcome suggestions for corrections or clarifications. Revisions of this document will be available on the Suzaku Web sites listed in Appendix C. Users interested in more details can also access the different instrument papers.

  1. Spacecraft paper:
  2. XRT paper:
  3. XIS instrument paper:
  4. XIS simulations paper:
  5. HXD instrument paper:
  6. HXD in-flight performance paper:

next up previous contents
Next: 2. Mission Description Up: Suzaku Technical Description Previous: List of Tables   Contents
Michael Arida 2006-10-30