Newsletter No. 86, May 2005
  1. Notes from the Editor - Christine Jones
  2. 2005 Bruno Rossi Prize Winner - Christopher Wanjek and Ilana Harrus
  3. HEAD in the News - Ilana Harrus, Christopher Wanjek and Megan Watzke
  4. Chandra Fellows Named - Nancy Evans
  5. XMM-Newton Mission News - Stefan Immler and Phil Plait
  6. RHESSI Mission News - David Smith
  7. Swift Mission News - Christopher Wanjek, Phil Plait and Lynn Cominsky
  8. GLAST Mission News - Christopher Wanjek, Phil Plait and Lynn Cominsky
  9. HETE Mission News - George Ricker
  10. RXTE News - Padi Boyd, Jean Swank, Craig Markwardt, Tod Strohmayer
  11. Chandra X-ray Observatory Operations Report - Roger Brissenden and Martin Weisskopf
  12. Astro-E2 Mission News - Richard Kelley
  13. A NEW Newsletter -- The Gravitational Lens - Michelle B. Larson
  14. Meeting Announcements:




from the Editor - Christine Jones, HEAD Secretary-Treasurer, headsec@aas.org, 617-495-7137

HEAD only delivers the table-of-contents for HEADNEWS into your mailbox. The newsletter itself can be found online at http://www.aas.org/head/headnews/headnews.may05.html.

Thanks first to Matthew Baring for the outstanding job he did as HEAD Secretary-Treasurer since 2001.

The next HEAD Division meeting is to be held in San Fransisco from Wednesday October 4 through Saturday October 7, 2006. It's still a long way off, but please mark your calendars!

This spring brought news from NASA Headquarters that the call for proposals for the LTSA and ADP programs were being cancelled and that the budgets for several current space missions were being reduced. You should all have received an e-mail from Roger Blandford, HEAD President, about this. If you did not receive an e-mail and would like one, please let me know.

Finally congratulations to HEAD President Roger Blandford and HEAD members Harvey Tananbaum, Wallace Sargent and Jocelyn Bell Burnell on their election to the National Academy of Sciences.

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2. 2005 Bruno Rossi Prize Winner - Christopher Wanjek (EUD Science Writer) & Ilana Harrus (HEAD press officer)

Prof. Stan Woosley of University of California at Santa Cruz has won this year's Bruno Rossi Prize for his pioneering work on star explosions, including gamma-ray bursts. The prize is awarded each year by the High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS).

Prof. Woosley's research focuses on theoretical astrophysics. He is being recognized by HEAD-AAS for his detailed modeling of star explosions called supernovae, in which he describes how "heavy" elements needed for life such as oxygen and iron are forged and ejected. In addition, Prof. Woosley's "collapsar" model of massive star explosions has recently been identified as the central engine of some gamma-ray bursts, a major breakthrough in this field.

"There's something terribly attractive about a titanic explosion, as long as it occurs far enough away," said Prof. Woosley. "To think that the same explosions that make black holes and neutron stars are also creating the elements of life still continues to amaze me. I am honored to receive the Rossi Prize for what has been such rewarding work with so many bright students and colleagues."

The HEAD-AAS awards the Rossi Prize in recognition of significant contributions as well as recent and original work in High Energy Astrophysics. The prize is in honor of Professor Bruno Rossi, an authority on cosmic-ray physics and a pioneer in the field of X-ray astronomy. The prize also includes an engraved certificate and a $1,500 award.

Prof. Woosley was recently awarded the American Physical Society's 2005 Hans Bethe Prize, which recognizes outstanding work in the area of astrophysics, nuclear physics and related fields. He received the "Outstanding Faculty Award" from the Division of Physical and Biological Sciences at UCSC in 2003-04. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001 and as a fellow of the American Physical Society in 1987.

Prof. Woosley is a co-investigator on the HETE-II collaboration, a NASA mission devoted to the study of gamma-ray bursts that was launched in 2000. He is also the director of the Center of Supernova Research at the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC). He has published more than 300 papers. To view a computer simulation of a gamma-ray burst, refer to http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2003/0618rosettaburst.html

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3. HEAD in the News - Ilana Harrus, HEAD Press Officer, Christopher Wanjek, Structure and Evolution of the Universe Senior Science Writer, and Megan Watzke, Chandra Press Officer

Summer and movie season are upon us. Soon, all the news about cosmic radiation will involve its ability to unleash the superhuman powers of the "Fantastic Four". (Do not confuse with the "Fab Four", hydrogen, carbon, oxygen and nitrogen - which is your favorite?) In the mean time, the coverage of high-energy astrophysics was energized with the launch of Swift and subsequent gamma-ray burst announcements.

Major items in the News:

The SGR 1806 flare of December 27, 2004 was a whopper, the brightest flash of light ever detected from beyond the solar system. Swift and many other observatories -- RHESSI, VLA, VLBA, Parkes, MOST, MERLIN, ATCA, WSRT and Greenbank -- documented the flare and confirmed this was a massive eruption from the surface of a magnetar. The results and analysis attracted major news coverage, including television, radio, the New York Times, AP, Reuters and BBC. This is still, in fact, the biggest 2005 HEAD story.

Several Chandra results got very wide coverage. One story that attracted the attention of the press was the announcement of the "Most Powerful Eruption in the Universe Discovered". This story, on the cluster of galaxies MS0735.6+7421, announced at the AAS meeting in San Diego, was picked up by the wires agency (UPI, Agence France Press). The press also covered the story with USA Today (the most read paper in America) , the New York Times, Washington Post, New York Post, Baltimore Sun, Columbus Dispatch, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Houston Chronicle, Daily Press (Newport News, VA), Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL), The Oregonian, Deseret Morning News, Science News, Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen, Herald Sun (Australia), Financial Times (UK), NPR, TV stations (The Today Show (NBC), CBC News (Canada)). TV coverage also included about 20 stories on local affiliates (mainly NBC, but also UPN and Fox) across the country. The story was also present on many websites including CNN.com, MSNBC.com, Scientific American.com, Discovery Channel.com, SpaceFlight Now, Yahoo News & Independent Online (South Africa).

Another story, reported in the mainstream media, was the Chandra result on missing matter, released on February 2, 2005. This result, based on the detection of diffuse hot gas in the intergalactic medium, was reported in the New York Times, NPR (Science Friday), Science, MSNBC.com, Times of India, Space.com, Reuters, ABC Science Online (Australia), Scientific American.com, CBC News (Canada), Spaceflight Now, Universe Today, & Xinhua General News Service (China).

Chandra made the news again with the more recent story on the COUP project (Orion). This result was released to the press on May 10 via a media telecon, a relatively new and effective format of a phone-in press conference now being supported by NASA. The story was covered by Associated Press, Reuters (both wire stories were posted on many newspaper websites both in the US and internationally), UPI, Science, Voice of America, Christian Science Monitor, Houston Chronicle, Washington Times, New Scientist, Space.com, Discovery Channel.com, Scientific American.com, Australian, People's Daily Online, ABCNews.com, MSNBC.com, Xinhua (China), PhysOrg.com, Earthtimes.org, Astrobiology Magazine, News24 (South Africa), Taipei Times (Taiwan), CNN.com.

XMM-Newton had several recent media hits. The biggest one concerned the detection of variable emission coming from material orbiting a supermassive black hole. This result, combined with an RXTE result, made USA Today and a multitude of magazines and web sites.

And last but not least, the latest announcement from SWIFT of their detection of a short burst and the possible detection of a neutron star or black hole merger is only now gathering momentum for news coverage. The story made the Los Angeles Times, New Scientist, Contra Costa Times, AP, Science, Science News, Space.com (and thus MSNBC and CNN), Nature, The Guardian, BBC and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. The result also appeared in the scientific blogosphere with mention in blogs like the "Dynamics of Cats" or "The Preposterous Universe".

We also note:

Universe Today (May 4, 2005): Article on HESS http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/hess_observations.html?452005

Nature.com, PhysOrg.com (April 28, 2005) & APOD (May 5, 2005): Reports on the binary system Omicron Ceti (Mira A & B)

NewScientist.com (April 26, 2005) & Science Now (April 27, 2005): Hot spots on a neutron star tracked with XMM-Newton http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7307

Winnipeg Free Press, Space.com, Spaceflight Now (April 19, 2005) & APOD (April 21, 2005): Report on the definitive detection of a shell in the SNR G21.5-0.9

Independent Record (April 16, 2005): Cosmic Rays study with MEROPE http://www.helenair.com/articles/2005/04/16/top/a01041605_01.txt

BBC News (April 8, 2005): Article on Chandra and XMM-Newton study of NGC 6482 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4423651.stm

Washington Times (April 8, 2005): Gamma-ray bursts and the death treats they pose. Linked to Swift


Astronomy, (April 7, 2005), New Scientist, Universe Today, Kerala India Times (April 8, 2005) & Scientific American & Washington Times (April 11, 2005): XMM-Newton result on emission near the Milky Way center http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7250 http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa007&articleID=000E5C51-0C88-1257-8C8883414B7F0000 http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20050410-090823-7452r.htm

SpaceFlight Now & Astronomy Magazine (April 7, 2005) & BBC News (April 8, 2005), Washington Times (April 13, 2005): XMM-Newton results on clusters of Galaxies http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0504/07merging/ http://www.washtimes.com/upi-breaking/20050412-112436-9597r.htm

Space.com, BBC News.com, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Cambridge Evening News (UK), National Geographic.com, International Reporter (India), Cordis News (EU), Centre Daily Times (PA), PhysOrg.com, Universe Today, & Spaceflight Now (April 2005): Coverage on a Chandra and Submillimeter wavelength results that points to a phenomenal spurt of growth for some galaxies and their central black hole

Kansas City InfoZine (April 7, 2005): Mass extinction on Earth may have been triggered by a gamma-ray burst http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/6944/

SpaceRef.com (April 7, 2005): Article on distribution of dark matter using XMM-Newton http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=16562

New Scientist (April 6, 2005), BBC News & Universe Today (April 5, 2005): Coverage of latest result from SWIFT (first optical afterglow measured) http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7237

Michigan Daily (April 5, 2005): An article on ULX and their interpretation as intermediate mass black holes http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050323132144.htm

Science Daily (March 26, 2005): An article on studying Intermediate Mass Black Holes with XMM-Newton and Chandra http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050323132144.htm

New Scientist (March 25, 2005): Article on the contribution of HESS to gamma-ray astronomy http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7199

SpaceRef.com & Space.com (March 25, 2005): Image of the Earth in gamma-ray http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=16492

EurekAlert,Washington Times, Science Daily, Spaceflight Now, Innovations Report, Universe Today, Central Chronicle (India), Express Newsline (India), People's Daily Online (China), Xinhua (China), Economic Times (India), (March 22, 2005) & APOD (March 30, 2005): Intermediate mass black holes http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-03/cxc-xsp032205.php

SpaceFlight Now (March 17, 2005): A mature Universe in childhood. Evolved clusters at a high redshift http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0503/20distant/

New Scientist (March 16, 2005): A list of 13 scientific results that are still puzzling. High-Energy Cosmic rays are one. Dark matter and dark energy also make the list

Michigan Daily (March 15, 2005): Using XMM-Newton database to identify distant clusters http://www.michigandaily.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2005/03/15/4236d2a266179

CERN Courier (March 2005): Astrowatch article on locating the missing baryons using Chandra data

Space.com, PhysOrg.com, Innovations Report, Astrobiology Magazine, Spaceflight Now, Universe Today (March 2005): Coverage of Chandra result on Auroras on Jupiter

(The monitoring system was down from February 15 to March 15)

Yahoo News, Science News, Universe Today, RedNova.com, Innovations Report, PhysOrg.com (February 15, 2005): Result on black holes evolution

Universe Today (February 14, 2005): Report on the first GRB pinpointed by SWIFT http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/swift_first_burst.html?1422005

PhysOrg.com (February 8, 2005): A report on IceCube a neutrino telescope in Antarctica http://www.physorg.com/news2978.html

Astrobiology Magazine (February 3, 2005): Cite Swift's launch in their top 10 astronomy news of the year 2004 http://www.astrobio.net/news/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=1426&mode=thread&order=0\ &thold=0

ScienceWise (February 2, 2005): Wire report on missing baryon study using Chandra observatory http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/509589/

Innovations Report (February 2, 2005): Report on the UVOT on SWIFT http://www.innovations-report.de/html/berichte/physik_astronomie/bericht-39700.html

New Scientist (January 31, 2005): Article on the CREAM mission and its record flight around the Antarct\ ic http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn6945

SpaceRef (January 27, 2005): Magnetars and their interpretation http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=16011

Science Magazine (January 27, 2005): Article on the search for Intermediate-Mass black holes http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/307/5709/533

Universe Today (January 27, 2005) , All American Patriot (January 28, 2005) & Science Magazine (February 4, 2005): Report on the selection of the IBEX mission as part of the SMEX program http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/ibex_chosen.html?2712005 http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/307/5710/653a

New Scientist (January 27, 2005) & New Scientist (February 5, 2005): Article on Integral results on Sagitarius B2 http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn6937 http://www.newscientist.com/channel/space/mg18524854.000

Astronomy Magazine (January 25, 2005): Report on the first GRB seen by Swift

SpaceRef.com (January 21, 2005): Report on the Rossi Prize won by Dr. Woosley http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=15966

CNN International (January 18, 2005): An article on jets of matter traveling at 99.9% of the speed of light http://edition.cnn.com/2005/TECH/space/01/18/universe.speed/

EurekAlert (January 12, 2005), Science Magazine & Astronomy Magazine (January 27, 2005): First identification and study of a source of ultra-high energy cosmic rays http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-01/nyu-npi011005.php http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/307/5709/509a

USA Today, Science News, Sky & Telescope, Space.com, ScienceDaily, Spaceflight Now (January 12, 2005), APOD (January 28, 2005) & Cern Courier (January-February 2005): Article on the detection of 10,000 black holes at the center of the Milkyway

PhysOrg.com, MSNBC, TheRegister (UK), RedNova (TX), PhysWeb.org, & News24 (South Africa) (January 10. 2005): Article on tracking material around a black hole http://www.physorg.com/news2626.html

SpaceRef.com (January 5, 2005), Centre Daily Times (January 6, 2005) & New Scientist (January 7, 2005): Article on Swift first light and release of Cas A image http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=15815

Washington Times (December 30, 2004): An article on politics and science with a reference to the mock election held at the HEAD meeting in Hawaii in 2000 http://www.washtimes.com/upi-breaking/20041228-110907-4950r.htm

EurekAlert (December 17, 2004): Launch of a NASA balloon, CREAM, devoted to Cosmic Rays studies http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2004-12/indf-sbl121704.php

EurekAlert, Science Daily, RedNova.com, Universe Today, Spaceflight Now (December 14, 2004), ScienceBlog (December 20, 2004) & APOD (December 23. 2004): Press release of a Chandra analysis of the young pulsar in 3C58 http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2004-12/cxc-gte121304.php http://www.scienceblog.com/community/article4981.html

Innovations-Report (December 14, 2004): An article on a new high-energy gamma-ray source http://www.innovations-report.com/html/reports/physics_astronomy/report-37765.html

Cern Courier (December 2004): HST/Chandra image of Kepler SNR is picture of the month

Space.com, PhysOrg.com, Space News, CNN.com, Spaceflight Now, Science Daily, RedNova.com & The Register (November 22, 2004): Article on an XMM-Newton & Chandra result on the birth of super massive black holes http://space.com/scienceastronomy/blackhole_quick_041122.html

List of the press/image releases linked to HEAD

Please see: http://universe.nasa.gov/press/2005/ and http://universe.nasa.gov/press/2004/ for press releases issued in 2004 and 2005 on subjects linked to the Structure & Evolution of the Universe. There is a large overlap with what is presented below.

May 11, 2005 http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/press/pr0513.html http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2005/short_burst.html

May 10, 2005 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_051005.html

April 28, 2005 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_042805.html http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2005/05-059.html

April 19, 2005 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_041905.html http://myuminfo.umanitoba.ca/index.asp?sec=2&too=100&dat=4/1/2005&sta=3&wee=1&eve=8&npa=8264

April 8, 2005 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_040805.html http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=750&Itemid=2 http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=747&Itemid=2 http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=749&Itemid=2

April 7, 2005 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_040705.html http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=741&Itemid=2 http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=743&Itemid=2

April 6, 2005 http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Brandt4-2005.htm http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_040605.html http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2005/05-041.html http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=728&Itemid=2 http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=727&Itemid=2

April 5, 2005 http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Roming4-2005.htm http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=734&Itemid=2 http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=733&Itemid=2

March 24, 2005 http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2005/gamma_earth.html

March 22, 2005 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_032205.html http://www.umich.edu/news/?Releases/2005/Mar05/r032205c

March 16, 2005 http://www.uwnews.org/article.asp?articleID=8972

March 7, 2005 http://www.jhu.edu/news_info/news/home05/mar05/blckhole.html

March 2, 2005 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_030205.html

February, 24, 2005 http://www.umich.edu/news/index.html?Releases/2005/Feb05/r022405a

February, 18, 2005 http://www.atnf.csiro.au/news/press/magnetar_flare_site/magnetar_flare_release.html http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/press/pr0506.html http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2005/02/18_magnetar.shtml http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=695&Itemid=2 http://www.nrao.edu/pr/2005/sgrburst/

February 17. 2005 http://www.lanl.gov/news/releases/archive/05-012.shtml http://www.ucsc.edu/news_events/press_releases/text.asp?pid=639

February, 15, 2005 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_021505.html http://www.news.wisc.edu/10707.html

February, 7, 2005 http://www.newsdesk.umd.edu/scitech/release.cfm?ArticleID=1029

February 3, 2005 http://www.newsroom.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/display.cgi?id=990

February, 2, 2005 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_020205.html http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/05/050202.cream.shtml http://www.ucsc.edu/news_events/press_releases/text.asp?pid=631

February, 1, 2005 http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/UVOTfirstlight.htm

January 28, 2005 http://www.csiro.au/index.asp?type=mediaRelease&id=magnetars&style=mediaRelease http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/press/pr0503.html

January 25, 2005 http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=366&Itemid=2

January 24, 2005 http://www.ucsc.edu/news_events/press_releases/text.asp?pid=628

January 21, 2005 http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/swift-first-burst1-2005.htm

January 10, 2005 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_011005.html http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2005/9.html http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/press/pr0502.html

January 5, 2005 http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Burrows1-2005.htm http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/watchtheskies/swift_first_light.html http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_010505.html http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/earthandsun/new_year_flare.html

December 14. 2005 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/04_releases/press_121404.html http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2004/04-295.html

November 22, 2004 http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2004/04-283.html

November 20, 2004 http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Swift11-2004-2.htm

November 16, 2004 http://www.lanl.gov/news/releases/archive/04-091.shtml

And also several Image Releases at: http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/chronological.html

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4. Chandra Fellows Named

The Chandra Fellows for 2005 have been selected. Below are listed their names, where they received their PhD and their host institutions for their Fellowships.

Elena Gallo, from Amsterdam, going to Santa Barbara

Jon Miller, from MIT, going to SAO (Note that after his selection as a Chandra Fellow, Jon Miller accepted a faculty position at University of Michigan).

Jan-Uwe Ness, from Hamburg, going to Arizona State

Elena Rossi, from Cambridge, going to Colorado

David Sand, from CalTech, going to U. Arizona

Congratulations to all of you!

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5. XMM-Newton Mission News - Stefan Immler (NASA/GSFC) and Phil Plait (Sonoma State)

In December 2004, XMM-Newton celebrated its fifth anniversary in space. With approximately 4,000 scientific observations performed and over 800 publications in refereed journals published at a current rate of one refereed paper per day, XMM-Newton is fully meeting and exceeding expectations as ESA's second cornerstone mission in the Horizon 2000 program.

On March 9, 2005, a bright flash was registered in the MOS1 instrument, causing a data buffer overflow for all CCDs across the whole focal plane. After the event, which was likely caused by a micro-meteorite impact, it became clear that the MOS1 CCD6 sustained significant damage and that the number of hot pixels in the remaining MOS1 CCDs increased. The MOS1 CCD1 further showed a hot column near the boresight, which affects events below 200 eV. All other instruments are in good health status.

Scientific observations are continuing normally with all instruments on-board XMM-Newton, but with the MOS1 CCD6 permanently switched off. The loss of the peripheral CCD6 and the appearance of a hot detector column and new hot pixels (which are fully corrected for in the current calibration products) has minimal impact on the data reduction.

XMM-Newton Optical Monitor (OM) spectral response files have been prepared to allow the combined spectral fitting of OM and X-ray data. Canned response files giving single-point conversions from filter count rate to flux are available and are compatible with spectral fitting programs such as XSPEC.

An empirical correction of the positional errors in the 1XMM catalogue has been established which minimizes systematical errors of source positions when cross-correlating 1XMM catalog objects with other astronomical catalogs.

The release of the Science Analysis System (SAS) 6.1 in December 2004 incorporated several improvements, including an RGS background modeling capability, an upgrade of the OM grism data analysis, and a new treatment of Time Correlation correcting problems with existing time correlation data using Reconstructed Time Correlation (TCX) data.

The XMM-Newton AO4 call for budget proposals is closed and US PIs and Co-Is have been notified of the results.

For more information about XMM-Newton, please visit the US Guest Observer Facility pages at http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xmm/xmmgof.html

XMM-Newton E/PO News:

The Contemporary Laboratory Experiences in Astronomy (CLEA) exercise "Dying Stars and the Birth of the Elements" is now in the beta test phase. Copies of the exercise and the manual have been sent to external reviewers for evaluation. The exercise is also available online at http://xmm.sonoma.edu/edu/clea/index.html for review or classroom use.

The Supernova Educator Unit is in development (in conjunction with GLAST E/PO). The final production of this product will be in December 2005. Also, the StarLab portable planetarium X-ray cylinder and exercises, "The eXtreme Universe" are in production. Several test cylinders (used to project images in the inflatable planetarium dome) have been created, and the exercises are currently being written, to highlight comparisons between the x-ray and visible light skies.

XMM-Newton Educator ambassador Chris Royce presented two workshops promoting the science behind the XMM-Newton mission at the 2004 National Science Teachers Association meeting in Dallas, Texas. There were also a number of other workshops presented by Educator Ambassadors for other missions where XMM-Newton and its science were discussed. Past and future Educator Ambassador workshops are listed on our events page http://epo.sonoma.edu/newsandevents.html.

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6. RHESSI Mission News - David M. Smith, U. C. Santa Cruz

The Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) is stable and performing well; the only change is the gradual radiation damage to the detectors, which closely matches pre-launch predictions. This affects only the spectroscopy of and sensitivity to narrow gamma-ray lines. RHESSI does have the capability to anneal the detectors to remove the radiation damage, but there is no plan to anneal in the very near future as there is little impact to most of the primary solar science. Once again, we will have off-pointing observations to the Crab Nebula when it approaches the Sun this June, with the goal of taking imaging data from approximately June 9 to 18.

RHESSI continues as one of the most powerful missions for the study of solar flares, with images and spectra of electron bremsstrahlung being used by many researchers both as independent measurements and in conjunction with data from other missions, such as TRACE, SOHO, and Wind. January 2005 saw a new set of X-class gamma-ray flares which allow the study of ion acceleration as well, a reminder that not all the action happens at solar maximum. G. Share et al. (2004, ApJ 615, 169) have found that the positron annihilation line in flares can vary from quite narrow to unexpectedly broad (up to 8 keV FWHM), making it a very sensitive probe of some surprising states of density and temperature in the flaring solar atmosphere. Many RHESSI solar results will be presented at the joint meeting of the American Geophysical Union and the Solar Physics Division of AAS in New Orleans this month, and at the fifth general RHESSI workshop in Locarno, Switzerland in June.

RHESSI was one of many missions to see the stupendous flare of the soft gamma repeater SGR 1806-20 on 27 December 2004 (K. Hurley et al. 2005, Nature 434, 1098). Although its germanium detectors saturated during the main peak, its particle detector did not, giving a good measurement of the overall fluence of the peak. During the pulsating tail, RHESSI recorded what may be the best available spectra of this event, its detectors being sensitive from 3 keV to 20 MeV for a source so near the Sun.

RHESSI has also been observing millisecond-long Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs), which were discovered by the Burst and Transient Source Experiment (BATSE) on the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory (G. J. Fishman et al. 1994, Science 264, 1313). RHESSI sees about 12 TGFs per month, for a total database of over 400 events and growning, compared to BATSE's mission total of 76. The RHESSI high-resolution spectra show emission up to > 20 MeV, implying bremsstrahlung from highly relativistic electrons accelerated above thunderstorms (D. M. Smith et al. 2005, Science 307, 1085). A list of the RHESSI TGFs is available at http://scipp.ucsc.edu/~dsmith/tgf/.

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7. Swift Mission News - Christopher Wanjek, Phil Plait and Lynn Cominsky, Sonoma State University

The Swift observatory launched in November and is working well, as evidenced by the dozens of gamma-ray bursts detected so far. About 20 days after launch one of the subsystems (the thermal electric cooler) malfunctioned, but this has been compensated for through software updates and ground-operation procedures. On May 10 Swift had its Space Science Mission Operations (SSMO) review to transfer responsibility from NASA's Explorer Program to NASA Goddard's SSMO for day-to-day operations. Swift continues to be operated from the Mission Operations Center at Penn State University.

Swift began normal science operations on April 5, 2005, following the completion of the check-out phase. Since then, all data taken by Swift have been available immediately to the community through the Swift Data Center's Quicklook Facility at GSFC as soon as they have been processed. As of April 12, 2005, one-week old Swift data have been routinely transferred to three long-term archives (one each in the US, UK and Italy.)

Funding for Swift Guest Observations in Cycle 1 is underway, and Cycle 2 Guest Investigator proposals are due July 8, 2005. The proposal review will take place in the Fall 2005, with results announced around the end of the year. Proposers must register with NASA?s new NSPIRES system. The Swift GI program is open to scientists at US institutions, and is intended to provide funding to carry out investigations using Swift data, conduct correlative observations at other wavelengths and carry out theoretical investigations in support of Swift observations. For more information, click the Proposals and Tools button on the http://swift.gsfc.nasa.gov website.

One of the biggest Swift discoveries so far has been the December 27 detection of the "superflare" from SGR 1806-20. Swift and many other observatories -- RHESSI, VLA, VLBA, Parkes, MOST, MERLIN, ATCA, WSRT and Greenbank -- documented the flare and confirmed this was a massive eruption from the surface of a magnetar. The event attracted major news coverage, as did the observation of the first x-ray afterglow from a "short" (< 2 seconds duration) gamma-ray burst (GRB050509b). Observations of this burst to date appear to provide evidence for the compact object merger theory. Such a detection was a key goal for Swift, and it came only six months after launch.

But from the beginning, Swift revealed its strength. Its "first light" detection announcements (in X-ray and UV/optical) were superseded by a stream of GRB detections. In fact, the Swift team was still calibrating the main instrument, the Burst Alert Telescope (BAT), when the first burst appeared on December 17. Three bursts on December 19 and one on December 20 followed. Aside from burst activity, Swift has begun an all-sky hard X-ray survey.

The NASA E/PO Group at Sonoma State University has introduced several new items to support the success of the Swift launch and the start of the science observations.

A web site (http://grb.sonoma.edu) has been created that has real-time updates for gamma-ray bursts. The page "listens" for announcements from the GCN for Swift, HETE-2, INTEGRAL, and Konus-WIND. When a GRB is announced, it automatically plots the position of the GRB on an all-sky map, and creates both a finder chart showing the constellation in which the GRB resides, as well as a chart using the Digitized Sky Survey images (displaying an image 15 arc minutes on a side). The software was written by Information Technology Consultant Tim Graves. Education Resource Director Phil Plait then writes a brief synopsis of the burst, aimed at the public level. The site was designed to be used in a museum kiosk, and is enjoying a high level of popularity not just in the public but also by scientists.

A quarterly newsletter has been started to keep people up-to-date with Swift news. The first issue came out in May 2005, and can be found at http://swift.sonoma.edu/resources/multimedia/newsletter. You can also sign up to have it sent to you via email at http://swift.sonoma.edu/resources/multimedia/newsletter/signup.html.

Dr. Lynn Cominsky, head of the SSU E/PO group, has developed a presentation about Swift called "Swift View of the Universe," and has given it at several venues, including the 3rd High Energy Workshop for Amateur Astronomers (see accompanying article about GLAST). You can download the presentation at http://swift.sonoma.edu/resources/swift/educa_pres/swiftview040705/index.html. Dr. Cominsky was also the topic of a feature article in the northern California newspaper The Press Democrat, where she discusses Swift and the work done by the E/PO group. The article can be read on line at http://www.northbay.com/lifestyle/general/17cominsky_d1.html.

The E/PO team will be teaching the Swift and GLAST sponsored "You Are Here" mini-course to students at the Roseland University Prep School in Santa Rosa, California, starting May 18th. This is a series of lessons designed to teach students about the size and scale of the Universe as well as what it looks like at different wavelengths of light. A version of this mini-course has been adapted to be given at the Sonoma Boys and Girls Club starting June 21.

Swift Educator Ambassadors David Beier and Rob Sparks presented Swift-sponsored materials in workshops at the 2004 National Science Teachers Association meeting in Dallas, Texas. There were also a number of other workshops presented by Educator Ambassadors for other missions where Swift materials were used. All upcoming E/PO events including the Educator Ambassador workshops can be found on our event page http://epo.sonoma.edu/newsandevents.html.

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8. GLAST Mission News - Christopher Wanjek, Phil Plait and Lynn Cominsky, Sonoma State

This is an extremely exciting time for GLAST mission, with flight hardware now being integrated. The Large Area Telescope (LAT) Calorimeter (CAL) modules assembly at NRL is complete. The LAT ACD integration is almost complete at GSFC, and the ACD will ship to SLAC in June after completion of testing. The first five LAT Trackers (TKR) were delivered to SLAC from production in Italy. The first two full towers (TKR+CAL+electronics) have been integrated into the flight support structure at SLAC, and multi-tower airshower particle events have been recorded. System testing is proceeding well. In addition, spacecraft integration has started. The GLAST Burst Monitor (GBM) electronics have been delivered.

The integration of the LAT and GBM should be completed by January 2006. Environmental test of the LAT at NRL will start in January. Delivery of both instruments to General Dynamics C4 Division (the spacecraft contractor formerly known as Spectrum Astro) in Arizona is planned for late spring. The launch is planned for August 2007.

The Science Working Group (SWG) continues to have regular telecons, every two months. The next GLAST Users Committee meeting is in early June. The LAT team already at work preparing for the second data challenge, which will start in January 2006. (See the November 2004 HEAD newsletter about the first data challenge). This data challenge will also include the GBM. GLAST was well-represented at a number of recent meetings, including the January AAS meeting in San Diego, the April APS meeting in Florida, the FIU Blazar Workshop, and the Paris TeV Workshop.


GLAST E/PO at Sonoma State University sponsored two major workshops in the past six months: a "Modeling the Universe" workshop at the AAS meeting in San Diego, and the 3rd High-Energy Astrophysics meeting in Las Cruces (which was also co-sponsored by Swift). The first workshop was presented in conjunction with other SEU forum members, and was given to teachers from the local San Diego area. The reviews which came back indicated that it was a successful workshop and helpful for the teachers involved. The second workshop was in conjunction with the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO), and was attended by approximately 90 amateur astronomers and science educators. We presented information about the Global Telescope Network in an effort to get amateurs to join and educators to use it to teach astronomy. The GLAST E/PO team also gave a demo of the GLAST Optical Robotic Telescope (GORT), which is now remotely commandable via the internet, and has begun observing GLAST scientific targets. SSU personnel did an activity designed to teach photometric analysis, and gave several talks about various aspects of high-energy astrophysics.

GLAST Educator Ambassadors Michiel Ford, Daryl Taylor, Pamela Whiffen, and Walter Glogowski all presented workshops at the 2004 National Science Teachers Association meeting in Dallas, Texas. There were also a number of other workshops presented by Educator Ambassadors for other missions where GLAST materials were used. All upcoming E/PO events including the Educator Ambassador workshops can be found on our event page http://epo.sonoma.edu/newsandevents.html.

Dr. Lynn Cominsky, SSU E/PO Lead, was interviewed by the northern California newspaper "The Bohemian," where she discussed high-energy astrophysics and GORT. (To read it online, see http://www.metroactive.com/papers/sonoma/01.12.05/blackholes-0502.html) Dr. Phil Plait also wrote an article about GORT for California Wild, the magazine for the California Academy of Sciences.

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9. HETE Mission News - George Ricker, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Now entering its fifth year of operations, HETE continues to provide the observer community with prompt, accurate localizations and spectral characteristics of GRB sources. The HETE spacecraft and dedicated ground network continue to operate reliably and efficiently. All three science instruments (i.e., the gamma-ray [Fregate], the medium energy X-ray [WXM], and the soft X-ray cameras [SXC]) continue to work well. HETE is currently localizing ~20 GRBs per year, with 79 GRBs localized thus far in 4.5 years of operation. HETE's localization sample includes 24 X-ray flashes (XRFs) thus far. Twenty-nine HETE localizations have led to detection of an X-ray, optical or radio afterglow. The harvest from SXC-refined localizations of initial WXM detections continues to be particularly rich, with 17 of 22 recent localizations resulting in optical or near IR counterparts; i.e., 77% have IR or optical counterparts. Thus, very few SXC-localized bursts have been optically dark. Furthermore, redshifts have been reported for 17 HETE-localized GRBs. Thus, HETE localizations have enabled ~35% of all the redshifts ever measured for GRBs.

The increasing number of HETE bursts that are well-characterized spectrally and that have measured redshifts has greatly extended the range and robustness of the so-called "Amati relation," which correlates Epeak, the value of the peak energy of the spectrum in =C9=C0F=C9=C0, to the burst isotropic energy, Eiso (Amati et al. 2000). Ghirlanda et al. (2004), Dai et al. (2004), and Lazzati et al. (2005) have argued that a model-dependent correction of the prompt burst energy for the jet opening angle results in a surprisingly accurate "standard ruler" applicable to cosmography for redshifts up to z ~3, well beyond the range z=3D0 to z~1.5 currently accessible for Type Ia supernovae. Discovery of low-redshift bursts with accurately-measured spectra will be essential to test and fully cross-calibrate this promising new methodology, as emphasized by Friedman and Bloom (2005). HETE has already discovered 5 GRBs with redshifts in the range 0.1 < z < 0.5 that will be critical for this cross calibration: more low-z GRB events than from all other satellite missions combined. (As of this date, the lowest redshift GRB established for any Swift burst is z=3D1.3 for GRB051026; Berger et al., GCN 3088).

As the most extreme burst population known, X-Ray Flashes (XRFs) provide severe constraints on burst models and offer unique insights into the structure of GRB jets, the GRB rate, and the nature of Type Ic supernovae. New insights into the nature of XRFs have come from recent observations of these events by HETE and from X-ray, optical, and radio follow-up observations of their afterglows. Still, many key questions concerning XRFs remain unanswered. These include: Is the total energy radiated by XRFs much less than the total energy radiated by GRBs (as some observations indicate)? Does the burst population extend down to events with peak energies at UV and optical wavelengths? Is the XRF population a direct extension of the GRB and "X-ray rich" GRB populations, or is it a distinct population? If it is a direct extension, are XRFs a separate component of GRBs? If it is not, do XRFs require different physics than do GRBs? There has been a surge in theoretical modeling of XRFs in the past year, much of it attempting to address these questions. In order to broaden the discourse on these topics and to highlight recent XRF discoveries by HETE, a special half-day session on X-ray Flashes will take place on 31 May at the 206th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Minneapolis.

The commencement of full operations by Swift in April 2005 has enabled a scientific partnership between HETE and Swift in which HETE promptly localizes XRFs and characterizes their spectra, and Swift slews to these events, bringing its X-ray Telescope (XRT) instrument to bear. Thus, an XRF (or other GRB) position can be refined from the ~1-10 arcminute localization provided by HETE, to the ~5=C5h localization provided by the XRT, which can also fully characterize the X-ray afterglow. In the first test of this combined observing strategy, the source GRB050408 was detected as an XRF by HETE (Prigozhin et al., GCN 3189). The HETE WXM and SXC real-time localizations were disseminated world-wide within 11s, while the burst was still in progress. Using these coordinates, Swift quickly established an X-ray afterglow, after slewing to the target just 42 minutes after the burst! (Wells et al., GCN 3191) In quick succession, detailed ground-based optical followups promptly identified a fading counterpart within the SXC error box (de Ugarte Postigo et al., GCN 3192), for which a redshift (z=3D1.23, Berger et al., GCN 3201) was promptly established and confirmed (Prochaska et al., GCN 3204). Extended monitoring of the X-ray afterglow by the Swift XRT and ground-based optical-IR-radio observations over the following three weeks provided unprecedented details of the simultaneous X-ray and longer wavelength decay of this very unusual burst. In all, more than 40 GCN Circulars were published concerning this burst in April alone.

Following on from the success with GRB050408, we estimate that HETE can increase by a factor ~10 the number of XRFs with Epeak < 5 keV and by a factor ~3 the number of XRFs with Epeak < 10 keV that Swift can follow up for X-ray and optical afterglows. For these events, HETE can provide prompt fluences (Sbolometric), and spectral parameters (Epeak) for bursts that Swift can then follow up: these data are crucial for confirming that the Eiso-Epeak relation extends to XRFs and for confirming strong GRB evolution with redshift.

The scientific discoveries that HETE has made, the ways in which it is complementary to and synergizes with Swift, and its low operating cost are important reasons for continuing HETE operations during the Swift mission. Recognizing this, the 2004 NASA Senior Review recommended that HETE mission operations overlap with Swift mission operations for at least one year, with the possibility of a further extension, to fully exploit the scientific partnership between HETE and Swift. (Since Swift commenced its operational phase in April 2005, this recommendation would call for the HETE-Swift overlap period to extend until April 2006.)

The HETE Science Team continues to provide a variety of calibrated data products to the observer community in near-real time. Complete Fregate light curves and the results of first-cut spectral analyses are posted to the HETE web page (http://space.mit.edu/HETE/Bursts/) within minutes of reception of the full burst data set from the satellite. The automatic spectral fits are derived from triggered data from the Fregate instrument for bursts localized by the WXM and/or the SXC. At present, the following information is posted: spectral fits to the data; calculated values of Epeak; the 25-100 keV fluence; the burst duration; and a plot of the spectral fit generated by XSPEC (to allow any interested observer the opportunity to check the automated results). The spectral results for a typical burst are posted between 20 and 90 minutes after the burst, depending on the location of HETE in its orbit at the time of the trigger. Further details and caveats on the method are described at http://space.mit.edu/HETE/Bursts/, including a description of the relevant data sets and details properties of these bursts, including references, are being systematically published by the HETE Team in refereed journals.

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10. RXTE News - Padi Boyd, Jean Swank, Craig Markwardt, Tod Strohmayer - GSFC

All the RXTE instruments remain stable and continue to perform well. Exciting science results from new observations and from the extensive RXTE public archive continue to emerge, and cover a broad range of topics. So far in 2005, there are RXTE-related refereed publications on SS433, AGNs as analogs of low/hard state black holes, hard X-ray excess in a galaxy cluster, a bright old nova, eta Carina, and intermediate polars, as well as the millisecond pulsars, high and low frequency QPO sources, pulsars, and black hole binaries, for which RXTE is famous. These can be found among the RXTE results on http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/whatsnew/xte_refereed.html

In addition to its own unique timing science, RXTE currently supports many multi-wavelength efforts, coordinating observations with the complimentary capabilities of Chandra, INTEGRAL, XMM/Newton, Swift and several ground-based and balloon-borne observatories. Some recent RXTE science highlights follow:

Black Hole Lense-Thirring Precession - New RXTE observations reveal evidence of hot iron gas "surfing" on a ripple in spacetime around a black hole. Jon Miller (CfA) and Jeroen Homan (MIT) announced their results at the American Astronomical Society meeting in San Deigo in January. Their observations of GRS1915+105 show a low-frequency QPO of 1 to 2 hertz is tied to changes in the broad iron K line, suggesting that both features arise close to the event horizon. The low frequency QPO is thought to be due to Lense-Thirring precession, a prediction of general relativity. For more details, see the NASA Feature article: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/universe/blackhole_surfing.html

Neutron Star mass and radius - Scientists gain glimpse of bizarre matter in a neutron star. Dr. Tod Strohmayer (NASA GSFC) and Adam Villarreal (graduate student, University of Arizona) used RXTE and XMM/Newton to obtain the best measurements yet of the mass and radius of a neutron star. Announcing their findings at the September High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) meeting in New Orleans, Villarreal said, "Our results are really starting to put the squeeze on the neutron star equation of state." For more details, see the NASA Feature article: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2004/0908nsmatter.html

Giant Magnetar Flare - Like all high-energy detectors in orbit, RXTE was saturated by the superflare of the magnetar SGR 1806-20 on December 27, 2004. Even though the source was 31 degress off-axis, two ASM cameras shut off due to the high rate, and the 3 PCUs on at the time saturated. The precurser, the giant flare and the decaying train of pulsed emission are seen in the PCA data even though they are heavily absorbed by the PCA collimator. A recent preprint by GianLuca Israel and coworkers (astro-ph/0505255) claims the detection of 92.5 Hz QPOs during the pulsating tail of the giant flare. A possible interpretation is that the flare rattled the neutron star crust and the QPOs are related to crustal oscillation modes

Special Session at Summer AAS meeting - RXTE's first decade of science will be celebrated with a special session at the 206th AAS meeting in Minnesota (Session 17. Fundamental Physics with Millisecond Pulsars, Monday, 10:00-11:30am, May 30, 2005). Six speakers will discuss this topic, to which RXTE has made a significant contribution, from observational and theoretical perspectives.

RXTE Cycle 10 overview - RXTE continues to be a popular observatory among the community. We received 150 proposals in response to the call for proposals as part of NASA Headquarters' ROSS-04 announcement. A total of over 61 Mega-seconds observing time was requested, for an oversubscription factor of about 5.1. The results of the peer review can be found online at: http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/timeline/cycle10_targets.html As in the past two years, guest observer funding was available to support Cycle 10 observations. The budget review has recently concluded and PIs have been notified of the results. A total of $1.2 Million was available this year, an increase of 500 thousand over the last two years.

Cycle 11 Announcement - The Cycle 11 announcement was released as part of NASA Headquarters' ROSES-2005 solicitation. The proposal deadline is September 19, 2005. See http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/solicitations/summary.do? method=3Dinit&solId=3D{CA1A2C91-4339-9A34-1BDE-F118E7FC124F}&path=3Dopen = for details.

Current observing campaign of the microquasar GRO J1655-40 - The binary black hole which was first discovered in 1994 and was observed by RXTE 1996-1997, reappeared in February, 2005. Multiwavelength observing campaigns are underway. A major project by Jeroen Homan (MIT) makes available data for a variety of projects.

Frustrated observing campaign - A famous pulsar, A0535+262, which was the target of many proposals during RXTE's lifetime, because it was expected to provide such fruitful measurements, has just become active. During this unique event the proximity to the sun is preventing RXTE observations.

Birthday Celebration Preparations - A local celebration, an educator workshop based on RXTE results, and a community open house are being planned to coincide with the 10th anniversary of RXTE's launch. In this way, scientists and engineers who participated in the RXTE mission will be able to share their experiences and memories with local students, teachers and the general public.

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11. Chandra X-ray Observatory Operations Report - Roger Brissenden, SAO and Martin Weisskopf, MSFC

Chandra continued to operate with excellent performance by the spacecraft and science instruments during the last six months. We are pleased to report that the mission is approaching its 6th year of operation this July in good health and with significant long-term reserves of consumables.

Operations highlights. Chandra completed the winter eclipse season in November with nominal power and thermal performance, and a nominal lunar eclipse and Leonids meteor shower passage, also in November. A series of flight software patches were installed to provide the capability to use the HRC as a solar radiation detector, thus mitigating the risk of degraded performance of the EPHIN radiation detector, which has already lasted longer than expected. Another flight software patch was developed in response to new thermal constraints that ensures that Chandra will transition to a safe thermal attitude in the event of a spacecraft safing action. Measurements of the aspect camera's dark current taken in December and March show a nominal warm pixel trend. Overall, the mission metrics indicate excellent mission performance.

There have been no major anomalies or safe modes during the last 6 months. However, in November, the Flight team responded to a transition to Normal Sun Mode cause by the sun falling out of the Fine Sun Sensor field of view during a large momentum transient associated with autonomous safing of the science instruments due to high radiation. The transition was found not to be anomalous but rather a result of unusual timing of events and science operations were restored efficiently.

The EPHIN radiation detector has continued to exhibit occasional cases of anomalous behavior due to high temperatures resulting from increased thermal environments that result from the expected gradual changes to the flight thermal insulating material. With the software patches now in place that allow the future use of the HRC anti-coincidence shield in support of or in place of EPHIN, the mission planning team is now able to budget a limited number of high temperature attitudes to provide some scheduling relief.

The observing schedule was interrupted 5 times in this period due to high solar activity, which contributed to an overall observing efficiency of 61%, compared with the maximum possible efficiency of ~70%. In addition, the new thermal constraints limit the duration that Chandra can spend at certain pitch angles to the Sun, requiring added effort by the mission planners and reducing slightly the observing efficiency. The schedule was also replanned 6 times to accommodate fast turn-around Target of Opportunity (TOO) observations, with response times ranging from 1-4 days.

Both the ACIS and HRC focal plane instruments have continued to operate well. Work has continued on analysis and ground-based experimentation related to the question of whether to proceed with a bakeout of the ACIS instrument in order to remove much or most of the contaminant believed to be present on the ACIS Optical Blocking Filter. The bakeout is being considered to regain much of the ACIS effective area at lower energies.

The processing, archiving and distribution of Chandra data has continued without problems, and the average time from target observation to distribution of data has been reduced from about a week to 3 days. The archive continues to grow at ~0.5 TB per year, with data retrievals remaining at ~200 to ~400 GB per month.

The Operations Control Center ground team continued their work in integrating and testing the transfer of the ground system software from Irix to the Linux operating system. Following a Test Readiness Review and Acceptance Testing, the new system is expected to become operational during the summer.

The Science Data System team released CIAO 3.2 in December, providing new tools including mkacisrmf, improved corrections for ACIS filter contamination as a function of position and a number of grating analysis tool upgrades. Version 7.5 of the CXC Data System software was released in December to support of the Cycle 7 call for proposals. The data processing team is preparing to begin the third full re-processing of Chandra data this summer.

The Chandra Press Office released 14 press releases during the last 6 months, including a media telecon in May that featured a deep observation of Orion.

The Cycle 7 Call for Proposals yielded over 700 proposals, and the proposal Peer Review is scheduled for June 21-23 in Boston. The observing program is expected to transition from Cycle 6 to Cycle 7 in December as planned, and the Cycle 8 Call for Proposals is expected in mid-December.

We look forward to the completion of 6 years of operations and the Six Years of Science with Chandra symposium to be held in Boston, November 2-4.

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12. Astro-E2 Mission News - Richard Kelley, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

The Japan/US Astro-E2 Observatory has successfully completed all of its environmental and performance tests and is being readied for launch at the Uchinoura Space Center in southern Japan. All three instruments, the high resolution X-Ray Spectrometer (XRS), the X-Ray Imaging Spectrometer (XIS) and Hard X-Ray Detector (HXD) have been fully tested several times since last fall and are working properly. A final performance test of the spacecraft and instruments will be carried out at the launch site before attachment to the M-V-6 rocket. The official launch window opens June 26, 2005. Astro-E2 will be placed into a 550 km orbit with 31 degree inclination. Web coverage of the launch is anticipated. In the meantime, the instrument teams continue to sort through ground calibration data and refine data analysis tools that will be available to the GO community.

We have released the call for Stage 2 (budget) proposals earlier this month, via individual e-mails and on the GOF website (see http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/astroe/prop_tools/stage2/stage2_c1.html for details). Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding the process. Both the RPS (electronic) submission and the hardcopy submission must reach us by 4:30 pm EDT on Friday, June 10, 2005.

Astro-E2 EPO News:

1) Sneak Preview! We have just released "Building the coolest X-ray satellite: Astro-E2" the movie about the upcoming Astro-E2 mission. Packed with action and drama, the movie has already earned the praises of movie critics worldwide. Don't be the last to see this summer blockbuster about science and a micro-calorimeter! Come by the "Beyond Einstein" booth at the summer AAS meeting for a sneak preview. Popcorn optional.

2) And the winners are... The Astro-E2 competition for high-school students has just finished and the winners will be announced at the upcoming AAS meeting. The competition attracted talented students from across the country who submitted observing proposals on objects that they had selected. The winning team will have the opportunity to work next year with Astro-E2 data. The students are expected to present their findings at one of the upcoming meetings of the AAS.

For more information on the Astro-E2 outreach program, please visit the Astro-E2 Learning Center web site at http://astroe2LC.gsfc.nasa.gov.

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13. A NEW Newsletter -- "The Gravitational Lens" - Michelle B. Larson, Penn State

The Center for Gravitational Wave Physics is starting a new effort called "The Gravitational Lens" - a newsletter highlighting recent work relevant to gravitational physics. Each issue contains a few pieces (written at a level for scientists in any field) that highlight gravity-related preprints of broad interest.

The first issue of The Gravitational Lens is now available at http://cgwp.gravity.psu.edu/gravlens

This issue features articles about:

* Identifying Earth-like Planets Around Distant Stars via

* GravitationalMicrolensing

* Observational Tests of Semiclassical Quantum Gravity Theories

* Searching for Gravitational Waves from Gamma Ray Bursts

Please share The Gravitational Lens with students and colleagues who may be interested. Anyone may join The Gravitational Lens mailing list to receive email notification of future issues: see http://gravity.psu.edu/mailman/listinfo/gravlens/

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14. Meeting Announcements

Editor's note: A list of international astronomical meetings can be found at http://cadcwww.dao.nrc.ca/meetings/meetings.html

Below are listed meetings that may be of interest to HEAD members, and particularly those where the meeting organizers have asked to have their meeting announcement included in the HEAD newsletter.

Pulsar Timing Array -- A Nanohertz Gravitational Wave Telescope (21-23 July 2005, Penn State)

Center for Gravitational Wave Physics, Penn State University

Pulsar timing offers a unique opportunity to detect nano-Hz frequency gravitational waves. The nano-Hz regime fills a void between the ultra-low frequency band probed by cosmic microwave background experiments and higher frequency bands probed by space and ground based gravitational wave observatories. Sources of gravitational waves detectable using pulsar timing methods include coalescing supermassive black hole binary systems distributed throughout the universe, relic gravitational waves generated at the birth of the universe, and cosmic strings.

The main goal of this workshop is to bring together researchers in gravitational wave, massive black hole, and pulsar astrophysics in order to discuss and advance the research that will lead to gravitational wave detection using pulsar timing. Talks will be given to promote useful discussions on the topics of improving pulsar timing, developing gravitational wave detection techniques, interpreting observations, and better understanding the sources of gravitational waves in the nano-Hz frequency regime.

Additional details about the meeting, including registration and hotel information, can be found at http://cgwp.gravity.psu.edu/events/PulsarTiming/index.shtml The hotel room block will release on 20 June, 2005.

Six Years of Science with Chandra Symposium-- Dedicated to Leon Van Speybroeck (2-4 November 2005, Cambridge, MA)

NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory was launched six years ago on July 23, 1999 and has been making significant advancements in astrophysics ever since. This meeting will highlight science results from the past six years of operation with emphasis on recent results. Contributions covering recent results from the XMM-Newton Observatory are also encouraged.

This symposium is dedicated to the late Leon Van Speybroeck, the telescope scientist who led the team that designed the fine mirrors for Chandra.

The astronomical community is strongly encouraged to propose oral and/or poster contributions for the symposium. The DEADLINE for abstract submission is 15 JULY 2005. Abstracts should be submitted on-line at http://hea-www.harvard.edu/6YrsChandra/present/

On-line registration is open at: http://hea-www.harvard.edu/6YrsChandra/registration/

Current information on the symposium can be found on the web site at: http://cxc.harvard.edu/symposium_2005/

Chandra Calibration Workshop. 31 October - 1 November, 2005.

The Chandra Calibration Workshop (CCW) is taking place at the Royal Sonesta Hotel on the two days prior to the Six Years of Chandra symposium (31 October - 1 November). The purpose of this workshop is to share the Chandra calibration teams' knowledge of the detectors and mirrors with the community while encouraging participation and feedback in the process of calibrating the satellite. This year, there will be a special session on "Incorporating Calibration Uncertainties into Data Analysis" on Tuesday afternoon (November 1). Presentations are solicited on aspects of Chandra calibration and its effects on data analysis and interpretation.

There is no registration fee for this workshop, however attendees must register. Visit the CCW website at http://cxc.harvard.edu/ccw/ http://cxc.harvard.edu/ccw/ for more information and to register.

Star Formation in the Era of Three Great Observatories (13-15 July 2005, Cambridge, MA)

The goal of the workshop is to review topics in star-formation which are inherently multiwavelength, and to both define the current state of knowledge and the points of current controversy where new observations are most needed. We plan to focus on topics for which the Great Observatories have the most to contribute during this unique period of simultaneous operation. We will also consider observations from other facilities as well as theoretical work. We anticipate coverage of galactic and local-group star forming regions and potentially galaxies of the local group. We hope to come away with a list of future strategies and goals to be presented to NASA and the project leaders of each of the three telescopes. This workshop is sponsored by the Chandra X-ray Center and the Spitzer Science Center.

DEADLINE: Late Abstract Submission deadline is June 3 or when the room is full. You may submit abstracts and register at: http://cxc.harvard.edu/stars05/registration/registration.html

4th International X-ray Astronomy School (15 - 19 August 2005, Cambridge, MA)

With the launch of Chandra and XMM-Newton, X-ray astronomy is becoming increasingly important for research into many topics in astrophysics. However, many astronomers have never analyzed X-ray data and do not have a clear idea of the features and challenges involved.

X-ray astronomy is currently in a golden area providing important insights into many topics in astrophysics. However, many astronomers have never analyzed X-ray data and do not have a clear idea of the features and challenges involved. We are organizing a X-ray school intended for graduate students and recent postdocs who want to understand the intricacies of X-ray astronomy. The emphasis will be on the foundations of X-ray astronomy rather than on any particular software tools, but we will have every afternoon devoted to hands-on data analysis sessions.

The deadline for registration is June 30, 2005. There is a registration fee of $250.00 The total enrollment to the school is limited to 50 people and we are already almost full, so don't delay your registration!

If you are interested in attending this X-ray Astronomy school, please see our registration page at: http://xrayschool.gsfc.nasa.gov

The X-ray Universe (26 - 30 September 2005, Madrid, Spain)

The XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre is organizing a major astrophysical symposium from Monday, 26th. to Friday, 30th. of September 2005 in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, a small town in the mountains some 50 kilometers northwest of Madrid. San Lorenzo is the most visited historic centre in Spain.

The XMM-Newton and Chandra space observatories have now been operating for half a decade and are continuing to provide superb data which is changing our view of almost every aspect of the Universe at high energies. In the near future the launch of Astro E-2 will provide enhanced capabilities for high resolution spectroscopy, and Swift recently joined HETE-2 in making detailed studies of gamma-ray bursts. Significant new insights are also emerging from Integral's view of the sky at hard X-ray and gamma- ray energies.

With this backdrop the "The X-ray Universe 2005" symposium is intended to encompass a broad range of high energy astrophysics topics, to provide a showcase for results and discoveries from current and near-future missions and a forum for the discussion of astrophysical themes with a high-energy connection. More information at http://www.congrex.nl/05a11/

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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:

    Comments, questions, or feedback to headsec@aas.org, Updated May 31, 2005