HEADNEWS: THE ELECTRONIC NEWSLETTER OF THE
HIGH ENERGY ASTROPHYSICS DIVISION OF THE AAS
Newsletter No. 91, Nov 2007
- Notes from the Editor- Christine Jones
- News from NASA Headquarters - Lou Kaluzienski
- HEAD in the News - Megan Watzke
- Chandra X-ray Observatory Operations Report - Roger Brissenden and Martin Weisskopf
- XMM-Newton Mission News - Randall Smith
- INTEGRAL Mission News- Christoph Winkler
- RHESSI Mission News - David Smith
- Swift Mission News - Padi Boyd, Lynn Cominsky, Neil Gehrels
- RXTE News - Padi Boyd, Keith Jahoda, Gail Rohrbach, Evan Smith, Jean Swank, Craig Markwardt, Tod Strohmayer
- Suzaku Mission News - Koji Mukai and Ilana Harrus
- GLAST Mission News - Steven Ritz, Lynn Cominsky and Robert Naeye
- NUSTAR - Daniel Stern and Fiona Harrison
- Constellation-X News - Mike Garcia for Con X team
- LISA News - Tom Prince and Bonny Schumaker
from the Editor - Christine Jones, HEAD Secretary-Treasurer,
HEAD only delivers the table-of-contents for HEADNEWS and notes
from the Editor into your mailbox.
The newsletter itself can be found online at
Those of you who go online for either the newsletter or other
information at the AAS-HEAD site (http://www.aas.org/head/) will find
that the HEAD pages have a new look to them. The need to update the
look as well as the organization of the HEAD pages was driven
primarily by Ilana Harrus, while the actual changes were designed and
implemented by Gary Galstian. If you have compliments on the new look
of the web pages, please send those to Gary
(firstname.lastname@example.org). And, as usual, if you have complaints,
send those to me!
January will be a time of transition on the HEAD Executive Committee.
Mitch Begelman will become the HEAD Chair for the next two years and
Steve Murry will be the Past Chair. Roger Blandford will end the six
years he has spent on the Executive Committee (as Vice-chair, Chair
and Past chair). Roger has been an important voice for High Energy
both on and off the committee and his wisdom on the committee will be
missed. As they end their terms in January, I'd like to thank the
committee members Chris Reynolds, Roger Romani and Julie McEnery.
HEAD also had a recent transition from Press Officer from long serving
Ilana Harrus to Megan Watzke. Much thanks to Ilana and a warm welcome
to Megan. I'll also be ending my term as HEAD secretary-treasurer, a
role I have enjoyed for the last three years due in large part to the
support of the other members of the committee and to being part of the
planning for two HEAD meetings. Thanks to John Vallerga, Trish
Dobson, and Judy Johnson for their hard work in getting the HEAD2006
and HEAD2008 meetings organized.
Ballots for the HEAD election of a vice-chair, a secretary-treasurer,
and three new members of the Executive Committee, along with several
changes to the HEAD bylaws have been emailed to HEAD members. Please
return those ballots to me by January 3, 2008.
The next HEAD Division meeting will be held in Los Angelos from March
31-April 3, 2008 at the Omni Hotel. Once again John Vallerga and the
Eureka Scientific team will be organizing the meeting. Abstracts are
due January 18, 2008 to be published in B.A.A.S. The meeting Website
(http://www.confcon.com/head2008/) is now open for abstract
submission. Please contact Trish Dobson (email@example.com) for any
help with your logistical needs and/or any questions regarding this
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2. News from NASA Headquarters - Lou Kaluzienski
Report from NASA HQ
1. Visiting Scientist Openings available
In anticipation of the upcoming departure of several of the
Division.s Visiting Scientists (hired through the Intergovernmental Personnel
Act, hence their other designation, .IPA.s.), the Astrophysics Division has
prepared the following announcement to the astronomical community:
.NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) is seeking up to
five experienced scientists to fill visiting scientist positions within the
Astrophysics Division, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC. These positions are
normally filled for two years, extendible to six years, by individuals on leave
from their home institution. Positions are available in the following science
areas: 1) physics of the cosmos (exploring the fundamental physics of the
universe and the extremes of space-time); 2) cosmic origins (the origins and
evolution of stars, galaxies, and cosmic structure); and 3) exo-planet
exploration (the search for and characterization of extra-solar planetary
systems and potentially habitable environments around other stars).
Visiting scientists participate in the planning, development
and management of NASA missions and in the management of the astrophysics
grants program. They serve as Discipline Scientists to develop research
solicitations, conduct scientific peer reviews, and recommend highly rated
proposals for selection, serve as Program Scientists for NASA space missions,
and participate in the selection of Explorer missions. Visiting scientists
play a leadership role in developing budgets, program plans, designing and
participating in E/PO activities, and long range strategic plans to define the
future NASA astrophysics program. They can make a difference in the execution
of the overall SMD science mission and are expected to demonstrate a high
degree of initiative in doing so.
Applicants must have a Ph.D. or equivalent in astronomy or
physics plus relevant experience in instrumental, observational and/or
theoretical research. Applicants should be familiar with the U.S. grants
programs and possess an ability to communicate effectively with the scientific
community, educators, and the media. Positions are available beginning March
2008, though the starting date is negotiable. Expressions of interest should
be forwarded to Sheila Gorham, Suite 3W39, National Aeronautics and Space
Administration, Washington, DC 20546; firstname.lastname@example.org;
In the area of High Energy Astrophysics, the terms of both
Rick Harnden and Wilt Sanders will expire in August 2008. Wilt is currently
investigating the possibility of extending his appointment for an additional
term, while Rick plans to take a well-deserved retirement following the launch
of GLAST. Individuals potentially interested in applying for an IPA position
should respond to the above advertisement. Questions concerning assignments in
support of the HEA discipline may be directed to Wilt, Rick, or Lou Kaluzienski
Rick Harnden: email@example.com;
(202) 358 - 3809
Wilt Sanders: firstname.lastname@example.org
; (202) 358 -1319
Lou Kaluzienski: email@example.com ;
(202) 358 . 0365
2. Upcoming/pending solicitations
As many of you are aware, there are several open NASA
solicitations of interest to the HEA community :
Strategic Mission Concept Studies
Proposals due: 20 November 2007
Selection tentatively anticipated ~ May 2008
Proposals due: 15 January 2008
Selection target date: May 2008
Senior Review of Operating
Proposals due: 12 March 2008
Senior Review: 22 . 25 April 2008
The following Astrophysics Division missions will be invited to
participate: Chandra, Spitzer, GALEX, INTEGRAL, RXTE, Suzaku, Swift, WMAP,
Proposals due: Late March 2008
Peer Review: June 2008
Selection planned for August/September 2008
3. Astrophysics Division Archival Review
NASA SMD is reassessing the manner
in which the Astrophysics archives are reviewed and funded, in the context of
the Senior Review process. To this end, a new Archival Senior Review peer
process will be initiated in late Spring 2008. This takes into consideration
that the scientific community is moving to a more integrated approach to the
research and analysis of scientific questions; the use of diverse datasets in
multiple wavelength regimes to perform said analyses; the growing accessibility
of NASA data assets on the Web; and, the community.s and the general public.s
expectations to find these data on the Web. SMD understands that archiving,
while essential, is not the final be all and end all: to make these datasets a
living asset; one must curate and develop the concept of archival science
centers, as opposed to the current model of the more rudimentary data archives
(.spinning bits.). The first Astrophysics Division Archival Senior Review
under this paradigm will be held May 13-15, 2008, with the proposals due in to
HQ in the early to mid-April 2008 timeframe.
4. NuSTAR .Re-start.
On September 18, 2007, Dr. Alan Stern announced the
.re-start. of the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) SMEX mission,
initially selected for a Phase A Concept Study in 2004. Dr. Fiona Harrison of
Caltech is the Principal Investigator for the mission which will be managed by
JPL. The baseline plan includes launch on a Pegasus XL from NASA.s Kennedy
Space Center in mid-August 2011.
A totally reconfigured Spektr-RG mission has been initiated
by the Russian Space Agency. The mission PI is Dr. Rashid Sunyaev who heads a
consortium of international partners. The present nominal science payload
includes the following instruments:
extended Roentgen Survey with an Imaging Telescope Array
Astronomical Roentgen Telescope X-ray Concentrator (ART-XC):
Lobster-eye Wide-Field Telescope (LWFT): UK, et al.
Spektr-RG X-ray Calorimeter (SXC): Netherlands, Japan, US,
The US contribution to the mission consists of the
flight-spare microcalorimeter array developed for Astro-E2 and is funded
through NASA.s Astronomy and Physics Research & Analysis (APRA) program.
Dr. Richard Kelley of GSFC is the lead scientist on the US-supplied
instrumentation. Mission launch is planned for late 2011.
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3. HEAD in the News - Megan Watzke
CHANDRA IN THE NEWS
May 2007-October 2007
This period kicked off with perhaps the biggest newsmaker ever
associated with Chandra. On May 7th, a NASA Science Update (NSU) was
held in Washington, DC to announce the discovery of the brightest
supernova ever recorded, SN 2006gy. This discovery, made through a
combined effort from Chandra and ground-based observatories, generated
unprecedented print, web, and broadcast coverage for the mission. The
story was found on the front pages of the Washington Post, USA Today,
Time magazine, just to name a few. Some of the other prominent print
locations included: New York Times, US News & World Report, Christian
Science Monitor, The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, and scores of
other newspapers both in the United States and around the rest of the
world. As one might expect, the web coverage was also staggering.
There were hundreds of web news articles and the story topped the
news.google.com site, a reliable indicator of the reach of any
particular news story.
Another area where the 2006gy story did exceedingly well was on
traditional broadcast coverage. For example, the story aired on the
same evening as the conference press The story appeared on national
broadcasts of all of the major TV networks this period. Overall,
there were 8 other press releases between May and October of this
year, and an additional 11 images released on the website. For a full
list of both, please visit
Some releases and some samples of the coverage they received include:
Date: June 20, 2007
Object (PI): Eta Carinae (Michael Corcoran, GSFC)
Headline: on Space.com, Earth & Sky, Science Daily
Date: August 16, 2007
Object (PI): Abell 520 (Andisheh Mahdavi, University of Victoria)
Headline: Train Coverage: Wired News, Space.com, Lancaster Newspapers (PA),
4. Chandra X-ray Observatory Operations Report
- Roger Brissenden and Martin Weisskopf
November 2007 HEAD Newsletter
Chandra X-ray Observatory Operations Report
Roger Brissenden, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Martin C. Weisskopf, Marshall Space Flight Center
We are pleased to report that the Chandra spacecraft and science
instruments have continued to operate superbly during the last 6
months. There were no safemodes or major anomalies during the period,
and operations were routine.
The average observing efficiency for May 2007 through October 2007 was
67% (compared with a maximum achievable efficiency of about 70%).
This value is up slightly from the 63% of the prior 6-month period
(November 2006 through April 2007), which was affected by substantial
solar activity during December 2006.
The Aspect Camera continues to operate well in support of spacecraft
pointing control and x-ray image reconstruction. In December 2006, the
temperature of the aspect camera's CCD array was lowered to reduce the
number of warm pixels and thereby improve guide star acquisition and
centroiding. Since that time the number of warm pixels has increased
(from the reduced number) at the expected, acceptable rate.
Both the ACIS and HRC focal plane instruments continue to operate
well. All 10 ACIS CCDs continue to operate nominally. The CCDs' charge
transfer inefficiency (CTI) continues to increase at a predicted and
acceptable rate. The contamination on the ACIS Optical Blocking
Filter, which decreases the instrument's low-energy sensitivity,
continues to accumulate, at a rate that appears to be decreasing with
The processing, archiving and distribution of Chandra data has
continued smoothly, with the average time from target observation to
data distribution remaining at approximately one day. The archive has
grown more rapidly over the past year due to the third full
reprocessing of Chandra data, which was completed in the summer of
2007. The primary archive is now 4.9 TB in size, and retrieval of data
and calibration products are on the order of 500 GB per month.
The Chandra Press Office regularly produces press and image releases
on the latest newsworthy results from the mission. (For more details,
see the "Chandra in the News" section of the newsletter.) As a new
avenue to share news of Chandra and its science with the public, the
Education and Public Outreach (EPO) group, in conjunction with science
researchers and the NASA Museum Alliance, has begun a series of
specially tailored teleconference briefings for staff of science
museums and planetaria. The briefings provide scientific explanations
of press releases that are deemed of special interest, presented by
researchers in the field. In the first of the briefings, Dr. Patrick
Slane of the Chandra X-ray Center discussed the supernova remnant
G292.0+18 with staff of over 20 science museums from around the
country. In conjunction with the briefing, 25 museums received, in
addition to press kits and educational materials, large-size, full
color images for display. The EPO group is also carrying out a
vigorous schedule of workshops for educators. Three, week-long
workshops were conducted over the summer, and multiple presentations
are scheduled for all three fall and winter regional meetings of the
National Science Teacher Association, as well as for the national NSTA
meeting in March 2008.
The Cycle 9 proposal peer review was held in Boston in June. The
review panels considered 663 submitted proposals (569 for
observations, requesting 93 Msec of observing time, and 94 for theory
and archive research), and approved 149 observing proposals (17.2 Msec
of allotted time) and 29 theory and archive proposals. The quality and
breadth of the proposals promises to yield a productive 9th year of
Chandra science. The annual symposium by Chandra Fellows was held in
October at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. All of the
current Fellows gave summaries of their work, providing an exciting
look at Chandra science. The competition for Chandra Fellowships for
2008 closed on October 31, 2007; the new group of Fellows will be
announced in February, 2008.
On July 23 we celebrated the completion of Chandra's 8th year of
science operations, and in October we joined with the scientific
community for the Eight Years of Science with Chandra symposium, held
in Huntsville, Alabama, at which over 130 researchers and students
presented and discussed a wide range of scientific results.
5. XMM-Newton Mission News
- Randall Smith
XMM-Newton E/PO News
By Kevin McLin and Lynn Cominsky
Work continues on the Supernova Educators Guide and poster. After
initial review by our EA and by WestEd we have redesigned two of the
activities and expect to have a new version of the guide soon.
Scientific reviewers are urgently needed to help us finish this product.
We have recently tested the Extreme Universe planetarium show at a
planetarium run by one of our Educator Ambassadors, Jeff Adkins, at Deer
Valley High School in Antioch, California. All the features of the
program worked well, and Jeff and one of his students (who often runs
planetarium shows herself) are interested in helping us develop a
scripted show that can be used in schools along with the software.
Another new group member is Kevin John, a recent physics graduate from
SSU. Kevin has been learning to maintain some of our websites and has
developed presentations and materials to be used in our training
Finally, Dr. Kevin McLin has been hired as GTN director, supporting
multi-wavelength observations of targets of interest to XMM-Newton and
other satellites, and helping to develop the supernova curriculum
materials and the planetarium show.
And don't forget to check out XMM-Newton products available for purchase
through Cafe Press:
6. INTEGRAL Mission News
Christoph Winkler, 15 October 2007
INTEGRAL continues to operate nominally. The 10th SPI annealing was
performed in June 2007 with nominal results.
The INTEGRAL (and XMM-Newton) Mission Extended Operations Review took
place in May 2007 and the board concluded that (i) the scientific
interest in both missions remains high; (ii) all mission elements are
stable and trouble free with sufficient consumables and life-limited
items to allow operation of both missions up to at least 2018; (iii)
national funding of the instruments and data centres will support
operations until the end of any mission extensions, (iv) the review team
fully endorsed the revised operational concept proposed by the
Executive, by merging spacecraft operations teams for both missions.
The Announcement of Opportunity AO-5 for INTEGRAL open time observing
proposals closed on 20 April 2007. The available observing time was
oversubscribed by a factor 6. The total number of AO-5 proposals
received was 182 including 22 proposals received for the Key Programmes
AO-5 issued a few months earlier. The TAC peer review took place in June
and the AO-5 observing cycle commenced on 16 August 2007 for a duration
of 12 months.
Meanwhile, preparations to issue the Key Programme AO-6 (release: 22
October 2007, deadline 30 November 2007) are underway.
INTEGRAL operations are funded until December 2010. The science case for
extension of the operations by two more years until 31 December 2012 has
been presented to ESA's Astronomy Working Group (AWG) on 10 October
2007, and the AWG strongly recommends the extension. The final decision
by the Science Programme Committee is scheduled for mid November 2007.
During the past 5 years in orbit, INTEGRAL has achieved outstanding
scientific results, to be mentioned in particular:
- The unique view of the Galaxy in the light of the electron-positron
Galaxy-wide origin of 26Al emission (1809 keV) reflecting massive star
population throughout the entire Galaxy and independent determination of
the Galactic core-collapse (SNII) rate
Hard X-ray sky surveys and catalogues
Resolution of the diffuse Galactic hard X-ray continuum emission in
Discovery of accreting binaries in dense clouds - a new class of HMXB
Discovery of very hard tails in anomalous X-ray pulsars
First hard X-ray determination of the cosmic diffuse background since
Looking ahead, great scientific challenges will be tackled by INTEGRAL
in the future:
511 keV map and source of positrons - an outstanding mystery. What is
the disk component in the inner Galaxy ? Asymmetry ? Extended halo ?
Nucleosynthesis in massive stars. Are 60Fe and 26Al convenient
diagnostic tools for all parts of the Galaxy ? Young massive stars in
Cyg region and line profiles ?
The origin of the galactic hard X-ray ridge emission above 100 keV - a
yet unknown population of sources with hard spectra, or truly diffuse
What produces the peak of the CXB at ~ 25 keV ?
Collaboration with HESS, MAGIC, GLAST, AGILE, SWIFT to unravel the
nature of very high energy sources, study transients and their
counterparts, and surveys
Continue monitoring the highly variable high energy sky with large FOV,
broad energy range and good sensitivity and be ready for observations of
bright Galactic X-ray novae and the next near-by or Galactic supernova.
The total number of INTEGRAL related publications in refereed journals
since launch is 293, with 54 during 2007. Conference and non-refereed
papers: 437. Five ESA press releases on INTEGRAL science appeared in
On the occasion of the 5th launch anniversary, a workshop entitled
``INTEGRAL - the first five years'' will take place in Sardinia on 17-19
October 2007 hosting more than 140 participants.
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7. RHESSI Mission News - David Smith
The Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI)
will anneal its germanium detectors in order to reverse the effects
of radiation damage, beginning November 5. Readers interested in
overviews of RHESSI science topics (and general developments in
high-energy solar physics) should visit the RHESSI Science Nuggets
where we will also post the results of the anneal as soon as they
are known, around the end of November.
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8. Swift Mission News - Padi Boyd, Lynn Cominsky, Neil Gehrels
Swift Mission News - by Robert Naeye (SP Systems/GSFC), Padi Boyd and
Neil Gehrels (GSFC), and Lynn Cominsky and Kevin McLin (Sonoma State)
As of October 25, 2007, Swift had observed 272 gamma-ray bursts (GRBs),
including 23 short GRBs. It has also performed 383 rapid-reaction slews
for non-GRB targets of opportunity.
The spacecraft has returned to full operations after recovering from a
period of inactivity. The spacecraft entered a safe mode on August 10
due to anomalous behavior in one of the three dual-axis gyro modules.
Calibration efforts revealed a subtle flaw in the onboard
attitude-control software. Ground controllers gradually restored the
spacecraft to full health over the next 2.5 months. All three
instruments are now back on line performing science and detecting GRBs
and their afterglows, and fully autonomous slewing resumed in
mid-October. Fortunately, the faulty gyro is still functional and, with
suitable care to avoid the glitches, it can be used to control the
spacecraft if one of the other two gyros fails.
The Swift science team has decided to try an experiment for a month in
late 2007 to tune the BAT instrument so it can detect weaker GRBs. This
will lower the threshold for detecting faint signals to the point where
false "noise" events start to creep in. The team won't know at first if
a weak blip is a real GRB or a false event, so the spacecraft will slew
immediately for each BAT detection and observe with XRT and UVOT. An XRT
and/or UVOT afterglow detection will tell scientists whether the event
was really a GRB and whether Swift should keep observing it. If nothing
is seen with XRT or UVOT, the team will quickly revert back to the
original schedule. It is difficult to predict how successful this method
will be in picking up interesting new types of GRBs.
Among recent Swift GRB results, John Graham, Andrew Fruchter, and their
colleagues used the Gemini North and South observatories to follow-up
the BAT detected GRB 070714B. They measured the highest
spectroscopically confirmed redshift yet for a short GRB: z=0.92. This
result shows that this subclass of bursts has a broad range of
redshifts, although still smaller on average than that of long GRBs.
Although primarily built to study GRBs, some of Swift's more impressive
recent science results have highlighted its versatility. An ongoing BAT
survey led by Jack Tueller and Richard Mushotzky (GSFC) has unveiled 250
active galactic nuclei. Follow-up observations with XRT, XMM-Newton, and
Suzaku have provided detailed X-ray spectra and light curves of these
AGN. Suzaku observations have shown that about 10 to 20 percent of these
objects represent a new class of AGN that is so heavily obscured by dust
that virtually no light (other than hard X-rays) escapes. GSFC issued a
press release on this discovery on July 30.
Using the XRT, Robert Rutledge (McGill University), along with Derek Fox
and Andrew Shevchuk (Penn State), has found what might be one of the
closest neutron stars to Earth. This result was publicized in a press
release issued on August 20 by Penn State.
Using Swift and RXTE, Hans Krimm and Craig Markwardt (GSFC) discovered a
bursting millisecond pulsar and found that it has a planetary-mass
companion - presumably the remains of a stripped-down stellar companion.
And a group led by Andrea Prestwich (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for
Astrophysics) has used the XRT and Chandra to discover the most massive
known stellar-mass black hole. These results were publicized in press
releases issued by GSFC and CfA on September 12 and October 30,
Meetings and Workshops
A summer workshop held in Aspen, Colorado, on June 4-15 highlighted
Swift GRB results. The conference was organized by Don Lamb, Josh
Grindlay, and Neil Gehrels.
The November 5-9 GRB meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico, will feature many
papers devoted to Swift and the study of afterglows of GRBs detected by
Guest Investigator Program
Numerous proposals for the Swift Cycle 4 Guest Investigator (GI) were
received before the November 9, 2007 deadline. This cycle features
expanded opportunities that include pointed observations of all types of
astrophysical sources. Besides probing GRBs, Swift is a valuable asset
for obtaining multiwavelength images, spectra, and light curves on
interesting targets of opportunity (TOOs) and other non-transient
sources. The Swift Guest Investigator program is part of the 2007 NASA
Science Mission Directorate's Research Opportunities in Space and Earth
New in Cycle 4 will be an opportunity for scientists at U.S and non-U.S.
institutions to study non-GRB, non-transient sources. Cycle 4 will also
continue the opportunity initiated in Cycle 3 for GIs to propose for GRB
research as well as TOOs on non-GRB transients. Funding through the NASA
Swift GI Program is available only to scientists at U.S. institutions.
Consistent with Explorer Program policy, there will be no proprietary
data rights to observations conducted with Swift. More information about
the Swift GI program can be found at http://nspires.nasaprs.com/ or at
Swift E/PO News
We have printed "Angling for Gamma-ray Bursts" posters to accompany our
GRB Educator's Guides. We also have a new printing of "Newton's Laws"
posters, which are available for middle-school classrooms. These posters
feature beautiful graphics by Aurore Simonnet, along with classroom
activities and Swift connections on the back. Posters can be ordered by
e-mailing Laura Chase at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also order a Swift license-plate frame with the words "Catch
Gamma-ray Bursts on the Fly," along with other Swift logo products, by
Kamal Prasad, who was hired over the summer, has taken over the Swift
MySpace page (http://myspace.com/swiftsatellite) as well as supporting a
new Facebook page. You can access the Facebook page by signing up for a
Facebook account, and then doing a search for "Swift satellite." Kamal
has also been working on workshop presentations to accompany the
Newton's Laws poster series. Kamal is being assisted by another recent
hire, Kevin John.
We hired Kevin McLin over the summer to be director of the Global
Telescope Network (GTN), which looks for GRB optical afterglows. He is
also involved in developing and presenting materials for K-12 education.
Kevin and Prasad participated in a workshop in July at the Space
Sciences Lab in Berkeley, where they presented the Invisible Universe's
GEMS guide to approximately 25 teachers.
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9. RXTE News - Padi Boyd, Keith Jahoda, Gail Rohrbach, Evan Smith, Jean Swank, Craig Markwardt, Tod Strohmayer
RXTE contribution to the HEAD Newsletter, 11/27/07. With
contributions from Padi Boyd, Keith Jahoda, Craig Markwardt, Gail
Rohrbach, Evan Smith, Tod Strohmayer, and Jean Swank.
The Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) is now approaching its 12th
launch anniversary, it continues to ably serve the astrophysics
community, and to produce important scientific results, some of the
most recent of which are highlighted below.
Cycle 12 observations have begun. The nominal start date for Cycle 12
was June 29, 2007 and observations are expected to continue through
December 25, 2008. The future for RXTE science beyond that point will
be decided by NASA's Astrophysics Division Senior Review of Operating
Missions 2008. The RXTE Users Group will submit a proposal to continue
operations for another two years. In addition to the unique
capabilities for RXTE's large collecting area, broad bandpass and high
time resolution, the next two years will include new opportunities for
combined observing programs. RXTE accepted several Cycle 12 programs
to combine observations with the soon-to-be launched GLAST mission, as
well as the array of TeV gamma-ray Cerenkov imaging telescopes rapidly
impacting the high energy astrophysics scene (such as HESS and
VERITAS). In addition we anticipate continued joint observing programs
with currently operating missions such as Chandra, Swift, INTEGRAL,
XMM-Newton and Suzaku.
Recently, RXTE and SWIFT combined to make the discovery of the eighth
accreting millisecond pulsar. The new X-ray transient source, SWIFT
J1756.9-2508, was discovered by Hans Krimm (USRA/GSFC) with the Burst
Alert Telescope (BAT) onboard Swift. Shortly thereafter it was
observed with RXTE's Proportional Counter Array (PCA), and Craig
Markwardt (UMCP/CRESST/GSFC) found it to be a pulsar with a frequency
of 182.07 Hz. Further observations and analysis by the team at GSFC
and also a group at MIT led by Deepto Chakrabarty found that the
pulsar is in a binary system with a 54.7 minute period. The pulsar
measurements indicate that the companion star has a minimum mass of
only 7 Jupiters! The actual companion mass depends on the unknown
inclination of the system, but it is unlikely to be greater than 30
Jupiters, making it one of the least massive companions known. The
results were the subject of a NASA press release and web feature at
Observations with RXTE were instrumental in finding the fast spinning
neutron stars in low mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs). Over the past year
RXTE observations continue to provide unique insights on these
objects. For example. it now appears that some LMXBs can be
intermittent pulsars, with variations in their pulsation amplitudes
seemingly related to the ocurrence of thermonuclear bursts. Evidence
of such behavior was first reported by Duncan Galloway (Univ. of
Melbourne) and collaborators in the behavior of HETE J1900.1-2455,
which showed abrupt increases in its pulsed amplitude coincident with
X-ray bursts. Recent work by Fotis Gavriil (UMBC/CRESST/GSFC) and
colleagues at GSFC, and Diego Altamirano (Univ. of Amsterdam) and
collaborators in Amsterdam have found another pulsar with such
intermittent behavior in the globular cluster NGC 6440. Gavriil et
al. had first reported the discovery of a 442 Hz pulsation in RXTE
data from an outbursting source in NGC 6440. The pulsations lasted
for about 500 s, and showed a small frequency drift consistent with
orbital motion. Altamirano then searched additional data sets from
the same pointing direction, and found further examples of
intermittent pulse trains. They were able to deduce an orbital period
of 8.7 hours by analysing all the intervals with detections of
pulsations, and also argue that the source of the pulsations is very
likely SAX J1748.9-2012. As in the HETE pulsar, the episodes of
increased pulsed amplitude are apparently coincident with
thermonuclear bursts. In yet another related study, Piergiorgio
Casella (Univ. of Amsterdam) and colleagues discovered an episode of
intermittent pulsations lasting 150 seconds from the LMXB Aql X-1. The
frequency was very close to the known 550 Hz burst oscillation
frequency in this source, further confirming a connection with the
spin of the neutron star. The physical mechanism responsible for
these variations in pulsed amplitude is still unclear.
RXTE has also recently discovered the strongest and most coherent
kilohertz quasiperiodic oscillation (QPO) yet found. The QPO was found
in the ultra-compact LMXB 1A 1246-588 by Peter Jonker (SRON, Utrecht)
and colleagues. They detected QPOs at 1258 Hz with an amplitude (rms)
in the 5 - 60 keV band of 27.4 %, among the highest yet reported for a
kHz oscillation. This behavior fits in roughly with the previously
known anticorrelation of QPO amplitude and source luminosity, but the
details for 1A 1246-588 appear a bit different. Whereas other sources
only showed highest amplitudes when the upper kHz QPO was at lower
frequencies (700 - 800 Hz), the QPO in 1A 1246 shows very high
amplitude at very high frequency.
GOF Update: Corrections to the RXTE PCA Background Model
Problems were discovered in the SAA history file that is used to
generate PCA background estimates. Some modest gaps in SAA coverage
were present in the file, and the accumulated dose from some SAA
passes were undercounted. This resulted in errors in the background
rate estimation. A new file that corrects these problems has now been
In addition, a bug was discovered in the FTOOL PCABACKEST for faint
models only, in Epoch 5c. The parameter maxmodels=2000 (instead of the
default value maxmodels=600) must be set in order to return a complete
faint background model.
Details can be found on the PCA Team SAA History and Backgrounds
Problem Report Page at:
Back to Top
10. Suzaku Mission News - Koji Mukai and Ilana Harrus
Suzaku - Koji Mukai and Ilana Harrus
Suzaku spacecraft and instruments have been operating nominally since
the last HEAD Newsletter. We are now more than halfway through the
AO-2 period, and Guest Observer (GO) observations continue on a
routine bases. We have started distribution of AO-2 GO grants; we
apologize for the delay in this process.
Suzaku AO-3 proposals are due on Friday, November 30th at ISAS/JAXA,
NASA/GSFC, and at ESTEC depending on the location of the PI.
Proposals to NASA must be submitted via the ARK/RPS system by 4:30 pm
on Nov 30th with no hardcopy submission requirement. The submission
process process is similar to previous cycles except for the addition
of a new category of proposals. Starting with AO3, we are introducing
a Long program category for proposal requiring between 300 ks and 1
Ms. Further details can be found at the following web sites.
We have started Version 2 processing of Suzaku data year, including
the calibration of XIS data taken with spaced-row charge injection
(SCI). In addition to proprietary data, the Suzaku archive now
contain Version 2 processed data from the SWG phase of the mission,
and Cycle 1 GO data are also beginning to enter the archive. Details
of the Version 2 processing, software and calibration status, and
related information can be found at the Suzaku GOF web site. Or you
can come to the San Diego meeting and ask us in person (see below).
Conference, Workshop, and Users' Group Meeting:
The Suzaku project will host a 3-day (Dec 10-12) conference in San
Diego highlighting the results from the mission. We will also hold an
evening workshop on Suzaku data analysis on Monday, Dec 10. We
encourage the community to attend the conference including the
We will hold a US Suzaku Users' Group meeting on Dec 13 in San Diego,
at the same venue as the conference. Those who wish to provide inputs
to the Users' Group can contact a member of the group (listed in the
Suzaku GOF web site) or the GOF.
The Suzaku E/PO program continues development of activities and
products which will be available in the near future. Among them is
the Astronomical Society of the Pacific's newest Night Sky Network
toolkit, Supernova!, which is now in Beta test development. The
Suzaku E/PO program, along with the Sonoma E/PO program, is supporting
the development of this kit, which will feature activities and
information inspired by Suzaku science. The toolkit will be
ultimately distributed to the Network's 200 amateur astronomy clubs to
be used in their outreach programs.
The latest edition of the Suzaku Newsletter for Educators, "Suznews",
is available online at:
Vol 2, No 2 features an explanation of calibration, an interview with
a Suzaku scientist, and an article on the birth of X-ray astronomy.
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11. GLAST Mission News - Steven Ritz, Lynn Cominsky and Robert Naeye
GLAST Mission News . by Robert Naeye (SP Systems/GSFC), Kevin McLin and Lynn Cominsky (Sonoma State), and Kevin Grady and Steve Ritz (GSFC)
The GLAST spacecraft has completed its electromagnetic interference and dynamics testing at the prime contractor, General Dynamics in Gilbert, Arizona, and the GBM source calibration has been performed. In mid-November the spacecraft will be transported to the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., where it will undergo final thermal-vacuum tests. After this testing is completed, the spacecraft will be sent to Cape Canaveral for launch preparations. GLAST is currently scheduled to launch no earlier than February 2008, with a mid-May date more likely. Please check http://www.nasa.gov/glast for updates. [***CHRISTINE: We will have an update on the launch date early next week. Can we send this to you as soon as we have the information, so this launch situation can be updated before the newsletter goes to press?]
GLAST has signed agreements with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO). The agreements provide observing time on NRAO and NOAO facilities to be awarded as part of the GLAST Guest Investigator program, facilitating multiwavelength observations. This is a great development for GLAST, NRAO, and NOAO science! Details may be found on the GSSC site (http://glast.gsfc.nasa.gov/gssc).
The GLAST LAT Multiwavelength Coordinating Group organized an observing campaign of the blazar 3C454.3 after optical observations revealed a flare starting on July 17. Astronomers who study phenomena across the electromagnetic spectrum responded, and preliminary science results will be presented at the January AAS meeting in Austin, Texas.
Meetings and Workshops
The GLAST Users Committee most recently met on September 17 at Goddard. The next face-to-face meeting will be on February 1, with a telecon on November 30. See http://glast.gsfc.nasa.gov/ssc/resources/gug/.
A LAT collaboration meeting was held July 31 to August 3 at SLAC. The next LAT meeting will take place November 13-16 in Arlington, Virginia.
In addition to various mission-level end-to-end ground system tests and operations simulations, a workshop was held at the LAT operations center at SLAC on October 8-12. The team rehearsed science operations, receiving simulated on-orbit data and processing it to check instrument performance and to handle simulated gamma-ray bursts and AGN flares. A total of 78 LAT collaboration members . including scientists from France, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and the US . participated in the successful rehearsal.
The Proceedings of the first GLAST Symposium, held February 5-8 at Stanford, have been published by the American Institute of Physics. Visit http://proceedings.aip.org/dbt/dbt.jsp?KEY=APCPCS&Volume=921&Issue=1 for more details or to order a copy.
Fellowship and Guest Investigator Opportunities
GLAST Fellowship applications are due December 7. NASA will award three fellowships in February 2008, with the fellowships to begin in September 2008. The three-year fellowships are intended to stimulate an infusion of new ideas that will enhance GLAST.s scientific return. The fellowships are open to scientists who have received a Ph.D., Sc.D., or equivalent degree in astronomy, physics, or a related discipline before the start of the fellowship. Support for each fellow will be provided through an award to a U.S. host institution, designated by the fellow, where the fellow will be resident. Proposals will be judged on their scientific merit and relevance to gamma-ray astrophysics and GLAST science. Further information and application instructions can be found at http://cresst.umd.edu/GLAST_Fellows/.
The deadline for the Cycle 1 GLAST Guest Investigator (GI) program passed on September 7. There were 167 proposals, of which about 40 will be selected for funding. Stage 1 of the peer review process will take place in December, and the final selections will be announced in the spring of 2008. More information about the GI program can be found at http://glast.gsfc.nasa.gov/ssc/proposals/.
GLAST E/PO News
The Sonoma State University E/PO group is gearing up for launch! Various launch products are in the works, including a GLAST litho, fact sheet, and poster. Other goodies are already printed and awaiting launch, including magic cubes, a GLAST paper model, a refrigerator magnet, and an Active Galaxy pop-up book and teacher.s guide. Pamela Gay, co-producer of AstronomyCast, will be producing podcasts related to GLAST mission science and featuring team members answering questions from students.
The GLAST Optical Robotic Telescope (GORT) participated in a multi-wavelength monitoring campaign on quasar 3C 454.3 in August and September. Kevin McLin has been hired to direct the Global Telescope Network and manage GORT. He attended the September Astronomical Society of the Pacific E/PO conference in Chicago, participating in a workshop on the use of telescope networks for education and outreach. Lynn Cominsky also attended the conference, giving a brief introduction to a showing of .Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity. at a special open house held at the Adler Planetarium for over 150 ASP conference attendees. She then gave two workshops on black holes for local-area teachers at the Adler on the Friday evening following the meeting.
In July, GLAST E/PO sponsored a Summer Experience for 60 students from the Roseland University Prep High School. We have been partnering with students at this predominantly Hispanic school since its founding in 2003. During a 2-day overnight program on the SSU campus, the students participated in several activities related to GLAST, including a public viewing session at the SSU Observatory of some GLAST blazars and other interesting objects.
Sarah Silva and Phil Plait left the SSU E/PO Group at the end of May. Sarah has gone off to become a real-estate tycoon, and Phil moved to Boulder, Colorado to write a book titled .Death From The Skies.. We wish them well in their new endeavors.
Kamal Prasad was hired over the summer and has taken over the GLAST MySpace page and other aspects of our web pages, as well as coordinating after-school activities. Another recent hire, Kevin John, is assisting Kamal. We also created a new FaceBook page to reach college students who are not as likely to check out GLAST on MySpace.
By popular demand, you can now purchase a lovely GLAST license-plate frame and other GLAST-themed products at http://www.cafepress.com/glast/. Look for an expanded Cafe Press site soon.
Public Affairs News
With input from many people, Rob Gutro and Robert Naeye of GSFC produced the GLAST Science Writer.s Guide. The Guide provides an in-depth summary of the mission, including scientist contacts, a Q&A on all aspects of GLAST, a timeline of gamma-ray astronomy, 11 feature articles on objects that GLAST will study, an overview of GLAST.s two instruments, lists of web sites, multimedia, and Education/Public outreach products, and a glossary. You can view the Guide through a link on the lower right side of the new GLAST portal web site at http://www.nasa.gov/glast. This website has recently started publishing web stories written by collaborating institutions, including SLAC.
Copies of the Science Writer.s Guide were handed out to 16 reporters who attended GLAST Media Day, held at GSFC on September 19. The New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, New Scientist, National Geographic News, Science News, Space.com, and other publications sent representatives. An A.P. wire story about GLAST appeared in newspapers all across the U.S. just days after the event. Panelists Steve Ritz, Peter Michelson, Charles Meegan, David Thompson, Kevin Grady, and Lynn Cominsky briefed reporters on various aspects of the mission, and fielded questions. Reporters were given media kits that included a DVD with high-resolution images and animations, which were produced by Liz Smith of GSFC.
Reminder: to subscribe to the GLAST Mission news, send an email to email@example.com (leave the subject line blank). In the body of the message, please write the following: subscribe glastnews your-email-address.
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12. NUSTAR - Daniel Stern and Fiona Harrison
HEAD Newsletter: The Revival of NuSTAR
NASA has recently given the go-ahead to restart a high energy
astrophysics mission that will provide a unprecedented sensitivity
to high energy X-rays. The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array,
or NuSTAR, is a focusing hard X-ray observatory which will be
launched in August 2011 and will map the sky at 6 to 80 keV. With
more than 500 times the sensitivity of any previous hard X-ray
mission, NuSTAR will provide greater capabilities for uncovering
obscured black holes, studying the physics of active galaxies,
tracing the birth of metals in supernova explosions, and studying
stellar remants in the Galaxy.
NASA had cancelled the NuSTAR mission, a Small Explorer mission,
in February 2006 due to funding pressures within the Science Mission
Directorate. As of September 2007, however, NASA has reinstated
NuSTAR, which will bridge the gap in astrophysics mission flights
between the 2009 launch of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer
and the 2013 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.
NuSTAR will be the first focusing hard X-ray telescope in orbit.
Its design eliminates high detector backgrounds, allows true imaging,
and permits the use of compact, high performance detectors. The
result is a combination of clarity, sensitivity, and spectral
resolution surpassing the largest observatories that have operated
in this band by orders of magnitude.
The High Energy Focusing Telescope (HEFT), a balloon-borne experiment,
is the precursor to NuSTAR and demonstrated the capabilities of the
NuSTAR optical and detector designs. This technology, combined
with an extendable mast which has space flight heritage from the
Shuttle Radar Topography Misison, will allow NuSTAR comparable
sensitivity gains in the hard X-ray band as first Einstein and then
Chandra obtained in the soft X-ray band.
NuSTAR consists of a single instrument that achieves its science
objectives with a combination of surveys and pointed observations.
The primary science objectives include:
- Conducting a census of black holes and stellar remnants on all
scales, achieved through surveys of both extragalactic and Galactic
fields, including the Galactic center.
- Mapping radioactive material in historical supernova remnants,
to study the birth of the elements, their dispersal into the universe,
and to probe the physics of stellar explosions.
- Understanding the physics of nature's most powerful particle
accelerators by obtaining high cadence, multiwavelength observations
of blazars at radio, optical, X-ray, and gamma-ray wavelengths.
- Responding to targets of opportunity, including supernovae and
gamma-ray bursts, with a rapid response capability.
The primary science program will be completed in two years, and a
subsequent Phase F has been proposed to open the unprecedented
capabilities of NuSTAR to guest observers from the broad scientific
The NuSTAR mission will be developed by Caltech, JPL, UC Berkeley,
Columbia University, the Danish National Space Center, GSFC, LLNL,
UC Santa Cruz, and SLAC. Sonoma State University will be leading
the NuSTAR Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) effort, and Orbital
Sciences Corporation and ATK Goleta are the primary industrial
partners. The Principal Investigator for the mission is Prof. Fiona
For more information about the NuSTAR mission, visit
- Fiona Harrison (NuSTAR Principal Investigator)
Daniel Stern (NuSTAR Project Scientist)
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13. Constellation-X News - Mike Garcia for Con X team
Constellation X-ray Mission Update, by Michael Garcia for the Con-X team
Since our last Mission Update (May 2007) the Con-X team has made
significant technical progress on the mission 'tall poles' and has
also begun preparations to present the Con-X Science and Technology
case to the upcoming NRC Astronomy Decadal Survey. The team has
completed its work with the NRC BEPAC (Beyond Einstein Program
As you may know, the BEPAC report provides mixed news for Con-X.
Unfortunately Con-X was not chosen as the first Beyond Einstein
mission to be built. However, there is also good news to be found in
the BEPAC endorsement of the Con-X science case and technical
readiness. Specifically, "Con-X will make the broadest and most
diverse contributions to astronomy of any of the candidate Beyond
Einstein missions...the general observer program of Con-X will harness
the ingenuity of the entire astronomical community", and "Con-X is one
of the best studied and tested of the missions presented to the
panel...much of this can be attributed to...strong community support".
We note that this support was very clearly displayed at the three Town
Hall meetings the BEPAC held, as the largest fraction of community
speakers supporting any single mission were those who spoke in favor
of Con-X. Wide community support was also visible in the
approximately one hundred attendees to the recent Con-X town hall at
the Eight Years of Science with Chandra meeting in Huntsville, AL.
While the BEPAC report views Con-X as general purpose astrophysics
observatory rather than a focused Beyond Einstein mission, it will
remain as part of NASA's Beyond Einstein portfolio. The panel also
suggested that the true value of Con-X could only be appreciated when
compared with the broader scope of Astronomy missions, in a setting
such as the decadal, and they recognized that "Con-X was ranked second
only to the James Webb Space Telescope in the 2000-2010 Decadal
Survey" (aka Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium).
With this endorsement, we are proceeding with plans to present Con-X
to the 2010-2020 Decadal Panel which the NRC is now in the process of
forming. One of our tasks will be to expand upon the BEPAC material,
which was very focused on BE science, in order to capitalize on the
breadth and diversity of Con-X science.
One of our first efforts in support of the decadal is a
reorganization of the Con-X Facility Science Team and associated
These panels will be responsible for much of the input to the decadal.
The kick-off meeting for these new panels will be an FST meeting on
Feb 21 and 22 in Boulder, CO, at the Boulderado Hotel. This
central location was chosen at the invitation of members of the Con-X
team at University of Colorado. Details will be forthcoming shortly
via email, and will be posted at the Con-X web site
(conx.gsfc.nasa.gov). As always, these are open meetings and we
invite all interested parties to attend, not just the formal
members of the FST and/or Science Panels. We also invite you to stop
by the Con-X booth at the upcoming AAS in Austin and talk with us
The tall poles in the Con-X project are the large X-ray mirrors (the
Flight Mirror Assemblies or FMAs) and the X-ray Calorimeters.
Manufacture of the 4 FMAs is the single most challenging part of
building the observatory, so the project efforts have been largely
dedicated to working on the mirror technology development over the
last 6 months. We have continued to modify our procedures for
slumping the 0.4mm thin glass mirror substrates onto precision formed
mandrels, and the resulting mirror segments have been gradually
improving in optical quality. Measurements of the dominant error
terms for the best mirror segments show that they meet the
specifications for a 15 arc-sec HPD observatory over substantially
more than 50% of their surface area. A substantial part of our effort
has been devoted to understanding what is limiting the figure in the
best mirror segments (the figure of the mandrel itself, or the
slumping process, or something else?) in order to do better than the
requirement of 15 arc-sec HPD and move towards our goal of 5 arc-sec
HPD for the complete end-to-end observatory. After forming the mirror
segments, the next most important (and time consuming) step is the
alignment of the 2600 individual mirror segments comprising each
mirror assembly into a tightly nested Wolter-1 mirror. Several
different techniques of aligning and then fixing the segments in the
proper orientation are being developed and the resulting mirror
paraboloid-hyperboloid (P-H) segments are being measured and
evaluated. Part of the metrology being used to measure the P-H
segments is derived from that used to align Chandra's sub-arcsec
mirrors, so we will know the results of the alignment very accurately.
The most accurate alignment method may not be the most desirable, as we will
need to trade the achieved alignment against the stability of the
resulting mirror and the speed and ease of assembly.
As a result of a increase in the required FOV for the calorimeter to
5x5 arcmin, new Position Sensitive TES (PoST) calorimeter arrays have
been designed and work on fabricating them has begun. These arrays
would surround a central 2.5x2.5 arcmin array and allow a 5x5 arcmin
FOV. While yielding a bit in terms of energy resolution, the PoSTs
require only a modest increase in multiplex capacity in order to read
out the larger array.
The re-reinstatement of NASA's NuStar program is good news for the
High Energy X-ray Telescope (HXT) on Con-X, as there is a synergism
between NuStar and the Con-X HXT. Lastly, Dr. Randall Smith
has joined the Con-X team as Mission Scientist at GSFC. Randall's
initial efforts will be to help the team developing our input to the
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14. LISA News - Tom Prince and Bonny Schumaker
In early September, the report of the National Research Council Beyond
Einstein Program Assessment Committee (BEPAC) was released. Although
LISA was not chosen to be the mission most ready for a new start in
2009, the BEPAC committee gave LISA a very strong endorsement. LISA
was given the committee's highest scientific ranking among all the
Beyond Einstein missions, and in the committee's view LISA should be
the flagship of a long-term program addressing Beyond Einstein goals.
The committee also recommended that LISA receive additional funds for
technology development so that it can proceed in partnership with ESA
to a new start once LISA Pathfinder has returned its results. The
Executive Summary of the BEPAC report can be read or downloaded from
the LISA International Science Community's web portal, at
http://www.lisa-science.org/resources/talks-articles/mission. The full
report, with a detailed discussion of science, technology, and budgets
is available from the National Academy web site,
Immediately after the release of the BEPAC report, the LISA
International Science Team held a team meeting at ESTEC in Europe.
Among the highlights of that meeting was a presentation of the results
of the very successful Mock LISA Data Challenge, Round 2, concluded in
June of 2007. Later, in October, the project had a very productive
Payload Architecture Review meeting in Friedrichshafen together with a
baseline costing exercise. Simultaneously, the LISA Pathfinder
Mission is moving ahead towards a launch date of 2010.
Back to Top
This serves as a partial archive of upcoming and
recent HEAD meetings. Access to Web sites of past HEAD meetings,
including abstracts and programs, is subject to availability
on remote servers.
HEAD Tenth Divisional Meeting, 2008,
March 31 - April 3, 2008, Omni Hotel, Los Angeles, CA.
HEAD Ninth Divisional Meeting, 2006,
4 - 7 October, 2006, San Francisco, CA.
http://www.confcon.com/head2006/head06.php The program is
HEAD Eighth Divisional Meeting, 2004,
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, 8 - 11 September, 2004.
Web site: http://www.confcon.com/head2004/head04.php. The pr
ogram as available at
HEAD Seventh Divisional Meeting, 2003,
Mt. Tremblant, Quebec, Canada, 23 - 26 March, 2003.
Web site: http://www.westoverconferences.com/HEAD. The program
as available at
HEAD Sixth Divisional Meeting, 2002,
Joint Meeting of HEAD and APS Division of Astrophysics,
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, 20 - 23 April, 2002.
Web site: http://www.aps.org/meet/APR02/. The program as available at
HEAD Fifth Divisional Meeting, 2000,
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, 6 - 10 November, 2000.
Web site: http://www.eurekasci.com/FRAMES/toc_head2k.html. The program as available at
of potential interest to HEAD members are listed here.
To have a meeting listed here, please send relevant information to
the HEAD Secretary-Treasurer.
Also listed on this page is the annual HEAD
schedule. This is of interest to current and potential HEAD officers.
"Magnetic Fields in the Universe II: from
Laboratory and Stars to the Primordial Universe" Cozumel, Mexico
28 January - 1 February 2008 -
In view of the success of the meeting "Magnetic Fields in the
Universe: from Laboratory and Stars to Primordial Structures", held in
Angra dos Reis (Brasil) in December 2004, a second edition is being organized.
The scientific aim of the conference is to provide a natural
continuation to the first edition, putting forward the most recent
advances of theoretical and numerical studies, as well as new
evidence gathered from observations.
The conference will consist in invited talks on themes of general
interest, a limited number of selected contributed oral presentations,
and poster sessions on more specific topics. Poster contributions will
be exhibited for the entire duration of the conference with two
special sessions devoted to them, preceeded by a invited review to
give highlighs and promote discussion.
"Observational Evidence for Black Holes in the Universe"
10 - 15 February 2008 - http://www.bose.res.in/~blackhole08/KOL-BH.html
The conference will cover all aspects of the theoretical and
observational results pertaining to the astrophysical stellar mass,
intermediate mass and super-massive black holes, primordial black
holes in cosmology, and mini-black holes in accelerators.
"1st La Plata International School on
Astronomy and Geophysics - Compact Objects and their Emission"
La Plata, Argentina
March 10 - 14, 2008 - http://school2008.fcaglp.unlp.edu.ar/
"43rd Rencontres de Moriond - Cosmology"
La Thuile, Valle d'Aosta, Italy
15-22 March 2008 - http://moriond.in2p3.fr/J08
The purpose of the Rencontres de Moriond is to discuss recent findings
and new ideas in cosmology, particle physics and astrophysics in a
pleasant, relaxed and intimate atmosphere. The meeting is intended to
promote fruitful collaboration between various communities and between
various institutes by bringing together a small number of scientists
in beautiful and inspiring surroundings.
The program will include Dark Energy Probes (SN Ia, Baryonic acoustic
oscillations, clusters of galaxies, weak lensing), Dark Matter (in
galaxies and in clusters of galaxies, the Lyman alpha forest, direct
searches for dark matter particles), Structure formation and the CMB.
"An XXL Extragalactic Survey: Prospects for the XMM Next Decade"
14-16 April 2008 - http://www.astro.ulg.ac.be/RPub/Colloques/XXL/index.html
The purpose of the meeting would be to examine the scientific
arguments for a 100 sq degree extragalactic survey, the technical
feasibility of conducting the survey with XMM-Newton, and the
practical steps needed to make best use of the data that would be
returned. Now is an excellent time for such a workshop, since groups
have gained considerable experience in working with XMM-Newton data.
"Workshop on Blazar Variability across the
22 - 25 April 2008 - http://polywww.in2p3.fr/blazars
It has been known for a long time that blazars are variable, both on
short (minutes to days) and long (weeks to years) timescales. Various
models exist to explain the mechanisms causing variability, and
disentangling them has also been particularly hard. A wide variety of
tools are used to define and characterize variability, with varying
limitations depending on the analysis method and observation
uniformity. We plan to have several wavelength-dependent review talks
about variability of blazars, ranging from radio to Very High Energy
wavelengths, with a special emphasis on Atmospheric Cherenkov
Telescope results - and possibly from GLAST - where the timescales
have been the shortest.
"The Warm & Hot Universe"
Columbia University, New York City
7 - 9 May 2008 - http://warmhot.gsfc.nasa.gov/
A workshop on the unique contributions of X-ray astronomy to the
understanding of large scale structures and the Universe.
"The X-ray Universe 2008"
27 - 30 May 2008 - http://xmm.esac.esa.int/external/xmm_science/workshops/2008symposium/
The symposium is intended to encompass a broad range of high energy
astrophysics topics and we hope that it will provide a showcase for
results and discoveries not only from XMM-Newton, Chandra and Suzaku
but also from other current missions; the scientific potential of
future projects like XEUS should be discussed at the conference.
"The Central Kiloparsec: Active Galactic Nuclei and Their Hosts"
Elounda, Crete, Greece
4 - 6 June 2008 - http://www.mpifr-bonn.mpg.de/div/vlbi/ckp08
The interplay between active nuclei and their galactic hosts is amongst
the most important areas of astrophysical research, connecting the
nuclear activity, galactic evolution and physics of large scale
structures in the Universe. This research theme relies upon synergy of
knowledge and information obtained in several different fields of
astrophysics including high-resolution radio, optical, and X-ray
observations, optical, NIR, and X-ray spectroscopy, and large
broad-band surveys of galaxies. The workshop is going to bring
together leading scientists working in these fields and provide a
forum for interaction, exchange of ideas, and forming new cross-field
collaborations in the area of AGN and host galaxy research.
"Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation 2008"
23-28 June 2008 - http://spie.org/astronomical-instrumentation.xml
Spectacular discoveries regarding the nature and origin of the
Universe continue to flow from the advanced technology of ground and
space-based telescopes and instrumentation. Scientific synergy has
also existed for many years between ground and space such as the use
of 8-10 m class ground-based telescopes for spectroscopy of distant
galaxies discovered in Hubble Space Telescope images. Further progress
is anticipated in this area when the more powerful JWST will
complement the next generation of Extremely Large Ground-based
Telescopes now being designed around the world. Most examples of
scientific synergy arise naturally due to the demands of addressing
specific scientific questions.
"4th Heidelberg International Symposium on
High Energy Gamma Ray Astronomy"
7 - 11 July 2008 - http://www.mpi-hd.mpg.de/hd2008/pages/news.php
We plan to cover all the major observational and theoretical aspects
of the field with an emphasis on the high (GeV) and very high (TeV)
energy intervals of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The topics of the Symposium will range from the origin of galactic and
extragalactic cosmic rays to the physics and astrophysics of compact
objects (Pulsars, Microquasars, AGN) and cosmological issues related
to Large Scale Structures, Dark Matter and Extragalactic Background
Radiation. Finally, we plan to have a special session for discussion
of scientific objectives and practical developments related to the
next generation of ground-based gamma-ray detectors.
"Radio Galaxies in the Chandra Era"
8 - 11 July - http://cxc.harvard.edu/radiogals08
Chandra has profoundly influenced our understanding of a wide range of
astrophysical phenomena, but one area in which Chandra's influence has
arguably been the greatest is in the study of radio galaxies and radio
loud quasars. The superb angular resolution of Chandra permits the
multicomponent emission from radio galaxies to be spatially separated
and has given us insights into the accretion and outflow processes. In
many cases, however, the wealth of new data has provoked more
questions than answers. This conference will highlight both
theoretical and observational studies of all aspects of radio galaxies
including nuclei, jets, lobes, hot spots, and interactions with the
ambient medium. The goals are to bring together a diverse group of
researchers to present the latest results and discuss the outstanding
problems in radio galaxy physics, and best decide how to use the
unique capabilities of Chandra going forward to resolve the
"Probing Strong Gravity and Dense Matter with
X-rays" 37th COSPAR Scientific Assembly, Montreal, Canada
13 - 20 July 2008 - http://www.cospar-assembly.org/
Treasurer's report due to AAS office (Kevin Marvel firstname.lastname@example.org)
Chair requests rooms for HEAD sessions, Rossi Prize lecture, and
business meeting for January AAS meeting from AAS conference coordinator
(Kelli Gilmore: email@example.com)
Chair sends call for nominations of candidates for officers and call for
Rossi Prize nominations to AAS newsletter editor for inclusion in AAS
newsletter (Crystal Tinch firstname.lastname@example.org)
Deadline for vice-chair to provide details of HEAD sessions for January
meeting to AAS conference coordinator (Kelli Gilmore). Needed - names
of speakers; preliminary titles of talks; names for sessions or
descriptions. Suggest names of session chairs to AAS Secretary (John Graham).
Secretary-Treasurer sends email to division members requesting nominations
for Rossi prize.
Deadline for nominations of new officers from Nominating Committee (and
nominations presented by petitions from members) to be sent by chair to
Secretary-Treasurer for including in November newsletter and voting by
Deadline for nominations for Rossi Prize. Chair sends all nominating
letters and selected supporting material to Executive Committee members
and begins collecting and recirculating comments
November - December
Election of new officers. Secretary-Treasurer conveys results to all
candidates and AAS Executive Officer.
Chair sends annual report to AAS Secretary for discussion at
January AAS council meeting. Also to Secretary-Treasurer for
next HEAD newsletter.
Chair prepares agenda for January HEAD business meeting and sends
to Executive Committee.
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HEADNEWS, the electronic newsletter of the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society, is issued twice yearly by the HEAD Secretary-Treasurer. The HEAD Executive Committee Members are: