Newsletter No. 99, December 2011

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13. Suzaku Mission News
Koji Mukai (GSFC)

There have been no adverse changes to the Suzaku satellite and its instruments in the last six months. On 2011 June 1st, the XIS team increased the amount of charge injected to XIS1 in normal mode to improve its spectral resolution at high energies. Since then, XIS1 data have been processed with a preliminary calibration. The team has now delivered an updated calibration of this unit. The GOF is performing verification of the calibration files, and plans to release them to the community shortly. Also in June, the XIS team and the GOF released a new calibration (both updated software and calibration files) of the contaminant that reduces the low-energy efficiency. Although this significantly improves the low-energy calibration of the XIS data, disagreement among the three units still remains, particularly for more recent observations. The XIS team is working on this issue, and on releasing an improved calibration of the timing mode data.

The biennial NASA Senior Review of its operating astrophysics missions will take place in early 2012, and Suzaku has been invited to participate along with 8 other missions. Suzaku must rank high in the 2012 senior review to ensure continuing US participation, and even to restore some of the funding that was lost over the years. We need the help of the Suzaku user community in the US to make the strongest possible case in the senior review. We ask US users to notify us of any high impact results. We are also collecting information on past and current PhD theses for which Suzaku was an essential component. Please contact the Suzaku GOF using the Feedback mechanism on our home page.

The Suzaku AO-7 proposals were due on 2011 November 10. Our preliminary count shows that we have received 3 Key Project proposals requesting 2,925 ks of time and 81 regular proposals requesting 15,401 ks of time to the US. The oversubscription factor for regular proposals is over 3.4. This proves that the US community is strongly interested in Suzaku observations. ISAS/JAXA and ESA also found similarly high oversubscription factors.

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