Harry Ferguson, Vicki Kalogera, Nobuyuki Kawai, Smita Mathur, Chris Reynolds (chair), Maria Santos-Lleo, Randall Smith, Lisa Storrie-Lombardi, Allyn-Tennant (ex-officio), Leisa Townsley
(1) Should the peer review be allowed to reduce the time for an ELP
below the proposed time.
(2) Should the peer review be allowed to reject all ELP proposals?
(3) If the full 5Ms is not allocated, how should the unused time be utilized?
(4) How should ELP funding be allocated?
(5) What policy should be applied with regards to proprietary time?
(6) What data products should be required from the successful ELP team?
The CUC extensively discussed these issues; see recommendations below.
The CUC continues to be extremely satisfied with the quality and professionalism of support that the CXC brings to the spacecraft operations, data systems, and the user community. The CUC is also extremely pleased by the responsiveness of the CXC to previous CUC recommendations and requests.
On the basis of the presentations and subsequent committee discussion, we have a number of specific comments, suggestions and recommendations for the CXC.
The proposed web page should also explain that a compromise has to be made between turning off CCDs and splitting observations. The web page should describe the current policy: observations that do not explicitly ask for un-interrupted scheduling can be split by Mission Planning team without further check with the PI. Observations explicitly asking for un-interrupted exposure will be considered time-constrained and hence limited by the 15 per cent maximum constrained time that can be approved.
(a) There has been very little discussion about cross-calibration across the Chandra instruments, e.g., between the bare ACIS-S, bare ACIS-I, ACIS-S/HETG and HRC/LETG. It remains unclear to what extent this internal cross-calibration is naturally achieved through the regular calibration efforts. The CUC requests an explicit update about internal Chandra cross-calibration. While the CUC acknowledges that it is challenging to find potential sources, it also recommends examining the cross-calibration of ACIS grating spectra with the spectrum of the zero-th order image.
(b) The CUC notes that essentially all of the cross-calibration efforts between Chandra and XMM or Suzaku is conducted using Chandra in a grating mode. While we acknowledge that it is technically easier (given pile-up issues), it is highly desirable to also cross-calibrate bare ACIS modes. If they are not doing so already, the CUC recommends that the cross-calibration team include bare ACIS modes in their consideration.
(a) We request that, at the next CUC meeting, we are given a clear description of why it is important to update/rewrite CHIPS and where (and how) CXC sees CHIPS eventually developing. As part of this discussion, it will be important to identify other high priorities activities for which CHIPS is an important tool.
(b) The CUC is concerned about the direction in which the user interface for CHIPS and Sherpa is developing. We feel that it is important to make the interface as accessible and natural as possible to astronomers, not computer programmers. Forcing the user into an object-oriented environment is of particular concern - this is not a natural system for most astronomers with the result that few astronomers outside of CXC will use these tools. This, in turn, diminishes the value of the effort expended to update these tools.
(c) We recommend that the CXC identify and examine metrics that probe the penetration of CHIPS and Sherpa into the community. For example, searching the body of Chandra related papers for "Sherpa" and "XSPEC" will give some measure of the relative use of these packages. This exercise will inform CXC and CUC as to the degree of effort that should be put into CHIPS and Sherpa development.
The committee also requests an update on EPO activities at the next CUC meeting.
(a) Reviewing the white papers: The CUC was concerned about maintaining the integrity of the intellectual property during the review of the white papers. Hence, we recommend that the review be conducted by the smallest viable group of experts chosen by (and including) the Director, and that the list of reviewers be made public after the submission deadline.
(b) Nature of white papers: The CUC feels that the white papers should be short documents, and that CXC should accept white papers that argue *against* the ELP program on the basis of specific science that will be harshly impacted. The CUC appreciates that both of these recommendations have been adopted in the recent call for white papers.
(c) Proprietary time: The CUC feels that ELP data should become immediately public by default, but that the proposing team be allowed to make the scientific case for a proprietary period up to a certain maximum number of months. To guide the choice of the maximum allowed period, the call for white papers should include a request for statements about the need (or lack of need) for a proprietary data period. In the event that the observations for a given ELP are spread over a period of time, data should be released as and when it is taken rather than waiting for the whole program to complete.
The CUC also recommends that the proprietary time policy for VLP be changed to bring it into accord with the chosen policy for ELPs.
(d) Management and deliverable plan: Given the size of these projects, the CUC believes that ELP proposals should be required to contain a specific Management and Deliverables Plan in which the management of projects is described and specific data products are proposed. This plan will provide guidance to the cost review for the proposing team.
(e) Funding of other teams: The CUC recommends that a fraction of available ELP funding (nominally 1/3) be made available to investigators other than the successful proposing ELP team, and that there be a call for supplemental data analysis and theory proposals at the time of the regular cost proposal call.
(f) Maximum duration of an ELP: The CUC concurs with the Director that a 2 year cap must be placed on the total duration of any ELP.
(g) The CUC feels that the peer review should have the ability and authority to reject all ELPs if they feel that the scientific return is not sufficiently compelling. The expectation should be, however, that one ELP will be selected. The peer review should also have the authority to reduce observing time below that proposed, although the usual discouragements from doing so should apply. The CUC recommends that the Director examine the possibility of extending the nominal duration of Cycle-10 to 13+ months such that, if an ELP is not selected, the cycle can simply be ended early without running out of targets prior to Cycle-11 starting.