Newsletter No. 90, May 2007
  1. Notes from the Editor - Christine Jones
  2. The View from the HEAD Chair - Steve Murray
  3. News from NASA Headquarters - Rick Harnden and Lou Kaluzienski
  4. 2007 Bruno Rossi Prize Winners - Ilana Harrus (HEAD Press Officer)
  5. HEAD in the News - Ilana Harrus and Megan Watzke
  6. Chandra X-ray Observatory Operations Report - Roger Brissenden, Nancy Evans and Martin Weisskopf
  7. XMM-Newton Mission News - Randall Smith and Phil Plait
  8. INTEGRAL Mission News - Christoph Winkler
  9. RHESSI Mission News - David Smith
  10. Swift Mission News - Padi Boyd, Lynn Cominsky, Neil Gehrels & Phil Plait
  11. RXTE News - Padi Boyd, Keith Jahoda, Gail Rohrbach, Evan Smith, Jean Swank, Craig Markwardt, Tod Strohmayer
  12. Suzaku Mission News - Koji Mukai and Ilana Harrus
  13. GLAST Mission News - Steven Ritz, Lynn Cominsky, and Robert Naeye
  14. Constellation-X News -- Jay Bookbinder
  15. LISA News -- Tom Prince and Bonny Schumaker
  16. Meetings
  17. Obituaries for Kenneth Greisen, Herb Gursky and Bohdan Paczynski Announcements




from the Editor - Christine Jones, HEAD Secretary-Treasurer, headsec@cfa.harvard.edu, 617-495-7137

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 http://www.aas.org/head/headnews/headnews.may07.html.

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. Please mark your calendars!

Plans are being made for two special HEAD sessions at the January 2008 AAS meeting. One will likely be on AGN outbursts and the second on very high energy cosmic rays.

Congratulations to Neil Gehrels and the team of scientists working on NASA's Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Explorer mission who received this year's Rossi Prize. And although I will send you all a reminder, it's not too soon to start thinking about making nominations for the 2008 HEAD Rossi Prize.

Finally we note with sadness the recent passing of three outstanding scientists and past members of HEAD -- Kenneth Greisen, Herb Gursky and Bohdan Paczynski. They each contributed very significantly to advances in high energy astrophysics.

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2. The View from the HEAD Chair - Stephen Murray

Not yet available.

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3. News from NASA Headquarters - Rick Harnden and Lou Kaluzienski

Personnel/Organizational changes

The most noteworthy news concerns the sweeping personnel changes that have taken place recently within the Science Mission Directorate. As most of you are aware, Dr. Alan Stern was appointed Associate Administrator for SMD effective 2 April 2007. Alan has a broad background in space science, with experience both in astrophysics and planetary science. He comes to SMD from Southwest Research Institute's Space Science and Engineering Division in Boulder, Colorado, where he was executive director of the Space Science and Engineering Division. Alan has a long association with NASA, serving on the NASA Advisory Council and as the principal investigator on a number of planetary and lunar missions, including the New Horizons Pluto-Kuiper Belt mission (for which he will continue as "government PI" while serving as AA). Dr. Colleen Hartmann, the acting AA for SMD prior to Stern's appointment, has resumed her position as Deputy AA. Upon his arrival, Alan announced several new appointments, including creation of the new Office of the Chief Scientist, to be headed by Dr. John Mather of GSFC. John will continue in his role as Project Scientist for JWST in addition to carrying out his new responsibilities as SMD Chief Scientist. Dr. Andrew Cheng of JHU was named Deputy Chief Scientist for Space Science (and Dr. Randall Friedl of JPL has also been appointed deputy for Earth Science). The Chief Scientist's Office will provide advice to Alan on issues of science priorities within SMD. In conjunction with these new appointments, Paul Hertz has been chosen to direct the newly created Science Policy, Process and Ethics Office. Paul will continue in his role of ensuring that NASA's science research programs are conducted with the highest standards and effectiveness in accordance with NASA's principles of science merit, open competition and peer review. He also will be responsible for the solicitation, selection and award processes within the directorate's research program. In addition to the above appointments, Dr. Yvonne Pendleton of ARC has been named Senior Advisor for Research and Analysis and Todd May from MSFC will serve as Deputy AA for Programs. Yvonne comes to SMD from ARC where she served as Chief of the Space Science and Astrobiology Division; Todd most recently served as Deputy Manager of the Science and Mission Systems Office (S&MS) at MSFC.

Concurrent with the SMD front office developments, Dr. Jon Morse has been named Director of the Astrophysics Division. Jon comes to the Division from GSFC, where he was a Senior Astrophysicist in the Laboratory for Observational Cosmology. During the past year he served on a detail from NASA to OSTP where he had been serving aswas a Senior Policy Analyst in the Science Physical Sciences and Engineering Division for the past yearDivision. Prior to that positionarriving at NASA in August 2005, he was an astrophysicist in the Laboratory for Observational Cosmology at GSFC, and before that, whileAssociate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Arizona State University, he was PI of the DESTINY JDEM concept study. Previous to his move to ASU, Jon served as Project Scientist on the HST Cosmic Origins Spectrograph instrument while at the University of Colorado Center for Astrophysics and Space Science.

Rick Howard, who served as Acting Division Director since February 2006, has resumed his position as Deputy Division Director, and will continue his focus on issues associated with the Astrophysics flight program.

SMD Zero-Base Review

High among the priorities announced by Alan Stern is his desire to revitalize the SMD Research and Analysis program, with special emphasis upon on strengthening of the suborbital program and its role in the training of future space science PI's. Accordingly, as he mentioned in recent Congressional testimony, the AA has initiated a "Zero-Base Review" of all SMD portfolios to ensure that allocated funding appropriately recognizes scientific and programmatic priorities, with the goal of maximizing the return from the SMD budget.

4. 2007 Bruno Rossi Prize - Ilana Harrus, HEAD Press Officer

This year's Bruno Rossi Prize was awarded to Neil Gehrels and the team of scientists working on NASA's Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Explorer mission.

Swift, which launched on November 20, 2004, was designed to rapidly detect, locate, and observe gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), powerful cosmic explosions which astronomers think are the birth cries of black holes. GRBs were first observed in the 1960s, and were a complete mystery until the mid 1990s. To date, Swift has detected over 200 GRBs, and its rapid response - it was named after the bird, which catches its prey "on the fly" - has been critical to understanding these titanic events.

"This is a great recognition of all the wonderful science coming from Swift and the years of hard work that the team has done to make it possible," said Neil Gehrels, the Principal Investigator for the Swift mission. "Swift is a remarkable machine which is still going strong. We expect even more great things from it over the coming years."

Among Swift's notable observations have been:

1) The first detection of an afterglow (the lingering, fading glow) of a short burst, GRB050509, thought to be caused by the collision of two ultradense neutron stars.

2) The detection of the most distant GRB ever seen (GRB 050904), lying at a distance of 13 billion light years from the Earth.

3) The discovery of the nearby GRB 060218 that was coincident with a supernova explosion (SN 2006aj)

4) X-ray observations of NASA's Deep Impact probe when it smashed into comet 9/P Tempel 1 in July 2005, helping solar system scientists determine how much debris was ejected by the impact.

5) Highly-detailed data of a powerful flare from a nearby magnetar, a tremendously magnetic neutron star, which was so bright it saturated Swift's detectors and actually physically impacted the Earth's magnetic field in December 2004.

Besides observing GRBs, Swift has several others scientific goals, including observing supernovae (powerful stellar explosions which can be used to map out the shape and fate of the Universe) and making the first high-energy survey of the entire sky since the 1980s.

5. HEAD in the News - Ilana Harrus, HEAD Press Officer and Megan Watzke, Chandra Press Officer

Since November, High Energy Astrophysics missions has produced results that were at the forefront of the news. Starting in Mid-November, we note:

INTEGRAL spotted a rare kind of gamma-ray outburst. The vast explosion of energy allowed astronomers to pinpoint a possible new black hole in our Galaxy. The outburst was also observed by XMM-Newton, Chandra, SUZAKU and SWIFT. The result received coverage by space.com, MSNBC, and other websites.

SWIFT keeps exploring weird explosions in the Universe. In December 2005, SWIFT detected a superflare from II Peg. The result, announced in November to the press, was covered by the BBC, Washington Post, Discovery Channel, New Scientist, and Nobel Intent among several others more traditional outlets.

Another result covered by the press in November was the detection of two supernovae in NGC 1316 by Swift. Such double event is rare and the announcement was covered by Discovery, New Scientist, Science Daily, United Press International, The BBC, Scientific American, Science News, and made it around the world with coverage Der Spiegel in Germany and People's Daily in China.

Then, in December, SWIFT scientists announced a newly recognized type of cosmic explosion called a hybrid gamma-ray burst. As with other gamma-ray bursts, this hybrid blast is likely signaling the birth of a new black hole. The result was covered by MSNBC, National Geographic, New Scientist, Scientific American, and "In the news" in England.

Chandra keeps making the news. As 2006 came to a close, the news of dark matter in the "Bullet Cluster" continued to reverberate, making several "top stories of the year" lists. Among them were Discover Magazine (image was on the cover), New Scientist, and USA Today. In November, a Chandra result on Cas A was covered by InTheNews.co.uk (UK), Trend Information (Azerbaijan), Space Ref, PressZoom, PhysOrg.com, SpiritIndia (India), MSNBC, Space.com, HappyNews.com, Spaceflight Now, innovations report (Germany), International Reporter (India), Malaysia Sun, Monsters and Critics.com (UK), United Press International, Science Magazine, and Sky & Telescope.

In early January, Chandra was the center of two Press releases, one on DEM L238 and DEM L249 and the other on the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. These were covered by News24 (South Africa), New Scientist, Science NOW, Zee News (India), innovations report, SpiritIndia, Space Daily, PhysOrg.com, SpaceRef, Agence France Presse, InTheNews.co.uk, Space.com, CCN Magazine (Canada), Cosmos (Australia), Spaceflight Now, DailyIndia.com, SpaceRef, Herald Sun (Australia), United Press International, Sky & Telescope, and Astronomy Magazine.

In March, a combined result from Spitzer, Chandra and ground based telescopes revealed a panorama of more than a 1000 black holes. This result was covered by Space.com, PhysOrg.com, People's Daily Online (China), USA Today.com, NewsMax.com, innovations report, CCN Magazine, Space Daily, Discovery Reports Canada, DailyIndia, National Geographic.com, Science Daily, Xinhua General News, The Ottawa Sun, The Toronto Sun, London Free Press, and Calgary Sun.

The most recent result (on the discovery of the brightest supernova seen) was the subject of a press media advisory on May 7 and the press coverage will be reported in the next issue of the HEAD newsletter.

Chandra also received attention for items that were not found from one of our releases. These 'bonus' stories included an article on analyzing Chandra data at home as part of a larger story of online astronomy. The story got picked up in dozens of media outlets. Likewise, a story out of the AAS about a new star in the Southern Cross was very popular in Australia, New Zealand and other countries where that constellation is featured on their flag. About a month later, the New York Times ran a story on the same result. A feature story on black holes in the Washington Post (written by Marc Kauffman) named Chandra's contributions to the field.

Below is the full list of press releases, related to HEAD that were issued since the last newsletter.

May 7, 2007: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/07_releases/press_050707.html http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2007/05/07_supernova.shtml

May 3, 2007: http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/press/2007/pr200712.html

May 1, 2007: http://www.galex.caltech.edu/MEDIA/

April 20, 2007: http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMDV2MJC0F_index_0.html; http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/press/2007/pr200709.html

April 12, 2007: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/07_releases/press_041207.html

April 11, 2007: http://glast.gsfc.nasa.gov/news/2007/07-12.html

April 10, 2007: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2007/mystery_spiralarms.html

April 4. 2007: http://mr.caltech.edu/media/Press_Releases/PR12966.html http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2007/supernova_imposter.html http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2007/04/04_supernova.shtml

March 19, 2007: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/exploration/stories/cosmicrays.html

March 15, 2007: http://www.pparc.ac.uk/Nw/LT_grb.asp

March 12, 2007: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/07_releases/press_031207.html

March 09, 2007: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/07_releases/press_031207.html

March 08, 2007: http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Grupe3-2007.htm

February 23, 2007: http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMPE0CE8YE_index_0.html

February 22, 2007: http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEM01WBE8YE_index_0.html

February 16, 2007: http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMPYIO2UXE_index_0.html http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMPADBE8YE_index_0.html

February 08, 2007: http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1146&Itemid=2

February 05, 2007: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2007/relic_wind.html http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2007/gas_cocoon.html

Januray 18, 2007: http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Integral/SEMGOVRMTWE_0.html

January 16, 2007: http://www.interactions.org/cms/?pid=1024862 http://swift.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/swift/news/2007/rossi.html

January 10, 2007: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/07_releases/press_011007.html

January 4, 2007: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/07_releases/press_010407.html

January 03, 2007: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/07_releases/press_010307.html

December 21, 2006: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2006/12/20_bursts.shtml http://mr.caltech.edu/media/Press_Releases/PR12936.html http://www.eso.org/outreach/press-rel/pr-2006/pr-49-06.html http://www.nbi.ku.dk/english/side94031.htm?foredragid=4898&lang=da

December 20, 2006: http://swift.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/swift/news/2006/06-373.html

December 07, 2006: http://www.soton.ac.uk/mediacentre/news/2006/dec/13_/06.shtml

December 05, 2006: http://www.galex.caltech.edu/MEDIA/

November 27, 2006: http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEM8SDANMUE_index_0.html http://www.pparc.ac.uk/Nw/LS5039.asp

November 20, 2006: http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Swift11-2006.htm http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/press/2006/pr200630.html

November 15, 2006: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/06_releases/press_111506.html

For the full list of Chandra image releases from this period, see: http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/chronological.html

6. Chandra X-ray Observatory Operations Report-- Roger Brissenden and Nancy Evans, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and Martin Weisskopf, Marshall Space Flight Center

We are pleased to report that the Chandra spacecraft and science instruments have continued to operate in an excellent manner during the last 6 months. There were no major anomalies or safemodes during the period, and operations were routine.

The average observing efficiency for November through March was 62% (compared with an average maximum of ~70%), down from 67% during the prior 6 months. The decrease in the average was due primarily to three back-to-back high-radiation solar events in December that reduced the efficiency in that month to a meager 49%. The efficiency has been approximately 68% since then.

The Aspect Camera CCD has continued to accumulate warm pixels at the expected rate. A decision was made to reduce the temperature of the aspect camera CCD by 4 degrees C to offset the gradual increase. The lower temperature has improved image centroiding and star acquisition success, and has reduced the risk of stars being dropped due to nearby warm pixels.

Both the ACIS and HRC focal plane instruments have continued to operate well.

The Charge Transfer Inefficiency (CTI) of the ACIS CCDs continues to increase at an acceptable rate: 3.2*10^-6 (2.3%) per year for the front-illuminated devices and 1.0*10^-6 (5.9%) per year for the back-illuminated. Monitoring of contamination buildup on the ACIS Optical Blocking Filer shows that the transmission at 0.7 keV may have decreased by slightly more than the current model indicates. An investigation is underway to determine if this is a real effect or the result of a bias in the data analysis as the flux from the radioactive calibration source continues to decrease over the mission. No actions are required in response to these trends.

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 that is currently underway. The reprocessing is proceeding well and is now approximately 85% complete, with completion expected in summer 2007. The primary archive is now 4.4 TB in size, and data retrievals are on the order of 450 GB per month.

The Chandra Press Office continues to regularly produce 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 Chandra and its science with the public, the EPO group now creates a monthly video podcast. These segments, lasting between three and five minutes, introduce a topic in X-ray astronomy in a colloquial, but scientifically accurate, way. In addition to being included on many of the top science podcast lists, the Chandra podcasts were selected as the winner of the 2007 Pirelli INTERNETional Award for Science Communication of Physics. The Pirelli awards have been given since 1996, making them the first international internet multimedia award aimed at the diffusion of scientific and technological culture worldwide.

The Cycle 9 proposal deadline passed on March 15 with 664 proposals submitted. The peer review is scheduled to be held in Boston June 22-24 and promises to yield an exciting 9th year of Chandra science. The 10th Chandra Fellows review was held in January, with five outstanding new Fellows selected from a record field.

We received 10 White Papers in support of possible Chandra Extremely Long Projects (ELPs). These were evaluated by a small review team including the CXC Director and the NASA Project Scientist. It was found that most if not all of the proposed science described in the White Papers could be accomplished within the current Chandra proposal framework utilizing the category of Very Large Proposals (VLPs), for which individual proposals can range from 1-3Ms. Thus, there is no plan to implement ELPs at this time. The CXC will take a few specific steps to encourage members of the community to consider submitting proposals for the full 3 Ms currently available under VLPs when they believe the science objectives require and merit this amount of observing time. Guidelines for the Peer Review panels will be reviewed, to ensure that the panels give serious consideration to proposals requesting times up to the 3Ms limit of the VLP category.

We look forward to celebrating the completion of Chandra's 8th year of science operations on July 23, and joining with the community at the symposium Eight Years of Science with Chandra, 23 - 25 October 2007, in Huntsville, Alabama.

The Chandra Postdoctoral Fellowship Program -- Nancy Remage Evans -- -- (CfA)

This year we had a record number of 104 applications for Chandra Postdoctoral Fellowships. The list new Fellows is provided below.

Name PhD Institution Host Institution

John Fregeau MIT Northwestern (yr 1)/KITP-UCSB (yrs 2 &3)

Jonathan McKinney U. Illinois Stanford

Ian Parrish Princeton Berkeley

Jesper Rasmussen U. Copenhagen Carnegie Obs.

Jeremy Schnittman MIT Johns Hopkins

Keep an eye on our web pages for information about the Chandra Fellows Symposium (Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2007 , at the Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA), and the annual Fellowship competition (November, 2007). The Chandra Fellows Symposium is open to all, and we encourage you to drop by to hear some exciting new X-ray results. http://cxc.harvard.edu/fellows/

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7. XMM-Newton Mission News - Randall Smith (NASA/GSFC) and Lynn Cominsky (Sonoma State)

The US XMM-Newton Guest Observer Facility (GOF) hosted the 2007 XMM Users' Group Meeting on April 30, 2007, where reports on mission status, recent calibration and software improvements, and future plans were discussed. As reported at this meeting, all XMM-Newton instruments are in good health, with no significant changes in the past year. The international XMM-Newton meeting will be held in early June; HEAD members should contact the XMM GOF if they wish to have an issue raised at this meeting.

We are also preparing for the 2008 NASA Senior Review, which will examine XMM-Newton's successes in the past two years and consider continued funding through 2012. We invite users to alert the XMM GOF to significant science results obtained with XMM-Newton to include in the next report to the Senior Review. The scientific report to the 2006 Senior Review is available at http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/FTP/xmm/doc/SR2006.pdf.

Recent notable accomplishments include:

(1) The release of version 7.0 of the Science Analysis System (SAS) in June 2006, incorporating many enhancements; see http://xmm.vilspa.esa.es/sas/ for more details. The next release (v7.1) will occur in Summer of 2007. The XMM archive has been reprocessed as well, and this data will be available for download from the XMM-Newton Science Archive ( http://xmm.esac.esa.int/external/xmm_data_acc/xsa/index.shtml) shortly.

(2) The initial version of the 2nd XMM Serendipitous EPIC source catalogue is now complete and available at http://xmmssc-www.star.le.ac.uk/newpages/xcat_public_2xmmp.html. The new catalogue contains 123,170 unique sources from 2400 XMM-Newton EPIC observations with a median 0.2-12 keV flux of 2.4e-14 erg/cm^2/s; ~20% have fluxes below 1e-14 erg/cm^2/s. All of the data are available in either FITS or comma-separated text format.

(3) The US XMM GOF has also reprocessed all data from Optical Monitor observations, which is now available through MAST ( http://archive.stsci.edu/xmm-om/) This catalogue includes source lists and images in several different filters, all produced using SAS v7.0. The source detection, photometry are done automatically, with astrometry matched against the standard Guide Star Catalogue.

(4) The US XMM GOF will have a new release of software to model the EPIC MOS particle background, which will be available at http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xmm/xmmhp_xmmesas.html. This software models the quiescent particle background both spectrally and spatially for the EPIC MOS detectors, and produces output that can be used in standard tools such as XSPEC and ds9.

We would also like to alert XMM observers to two facilities that ease data processing and analysis difficulties. Users who do not wish to install SAS can now use the online XMM-Newton Science Archive to automatically reprocess observations to use the latest calibration; see the documentation for assistance. In addition, the US XMM GOF and the HEASARC have released an update to Hera ( http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/hera/ ) which will generate EPIC responses (both arfs and rmfs) on demand. This is particularly useful since it allows X-ray spectral analysis to be done without downloading and installing the entire SAS and CCF repositories. More SAS tools could be added to Hera based on user interest; please email the Hera or XMM GOF helpdesk with suggestions or questions.

The anticipated release date for the next call for XMM-Newton proposals (AO7) is August 20th, 2007 with a due date of October 5th, 2007 (12:00UT). For more information about XMM-Newton, please visit the US Guest Observer Facility pages at http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xmm/xmmgof.html

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:

Two products were submitted to NASA Product Review, and both were approved: the Magnetic Globe Lithograph ( http://xmm.sonoma.edu/edu/supernova/Eglobeactilitho.pdf) And the CLEA lab, Dying Stars and the Birth of the Elements (download from: http://xmm.sonoma.edu/edu/clea/index.html ).

Progress continues on the Night Sky Network "Extreme Universe" toolkit for amateur astronomers, with the message and themes now approved. This toolkit should be available in 2008.

A beta-version of the eXtreme Universe portable planetarium show is now available for testing; contact Lynn Cominsky at lynnc@universe.sonoma.edu for more information. It uses Stellarium 0.8.1, which is open-source software, and can be displayed on computer screens as well as inside portable planetarium domes. This work was featured in a poster presentation at the winter AAS meeting in Seattle.

During 2006, XMM-Newton Educator Ambassadors trained approximately 300 teachers in 10 different workshops.

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8. INTEGRAL News - Christoph Winkler

While INTEGRAL is continuing to operate smoothly, the ISOC staff has been busy first with the special AO for Key Programmes and then with the preparation of AO-5 itself. In addition, a lot of work was done on the Archive at ISOC including the new INVITE tool for data visualization.

INTEGRAL's fifth 12-month observation cycle starting on August 17, 2007, will be unique in that 6 Ms of the total science time are dedicated to Key Programmes. The idea of a Key Programme (KP), a single or set of observations whose scientific aims require long exposures, was introduced in AO-4. The KP on the Galactic Centre region was warmly accepted by the community and successfully carried out.

The only notable recent operational event has been the 9th SPI annealing period (in order to maintain SPI's high spectral resolution), which started on 2006 Dec 4 (revolution 506) and ended just before Christmas, December 22 (revolution 511). The energy resolution at 882.5 keV was 2.62 keV before annealing and 2.40 keV just after the annealing.

Integral Science Highlights

LS 5039 is the only X-ray binary/micro-quasar persistently detected at TeV energies by the Cherenkov HESS telescope. It is moreover a gamma-ray emitter in the GeV and possibly MeV energy ranges. LS 5039 has been detected along almost all the electromagnetic spectrum thanks to several radio, infrared, optical and soft X-ray detections. However, hard X-ray detections above 20 keV have been so far elusive and/or doubtful, partly due to source confusion for the poor spatial resolution of hard X-ray instruments. Thanks to its imaging abilities, INTEGRAL detected LS 5039 at hard X-ray fluxes which are significantly lower than previous estimates obtained with BATSE in the same energy range but, in the lower interval, agree with extrapolation of previous RXTE measurements (P. Goldoni et al, astroph/ 0609708).

A rare X-ray nova (IGR J17497-2821) was detected on 16 September 2006 during KP observations of the Galactic Centre region. Follow-up observations identified the source/companion at X-rays (XMM, Swift) and optical ("Euler" telescope/Chile). A "canonical" black-hole light-curve was observed and the combined INTEGRAL/Swift spectrum features a hard cut-off power law continuum spectrum. The outburst in a low hard state can be explained by accretion through the hot corona of the accretion disc. Further observations of the companion at low energies should reveal more information on the BH mass (R. Walter et al., A&A, 461, L17, 2007; Rodriguez et al., A&A 655, L97, 2007; Paizis et al., A&A 657, L109, 2007).

Further detailed analysis of the transient X-ray pulsar V0332+53 observed by INTEGRAL and RXTE during a powerful outburst in 2004/2005 showed that the cyclotron line energy (at about 26 keV) decreases nearly linearly with increasing source luminosity.

A. Bird et al. have published the 3rd IBIS soft gamma-ray source catalogue (ApJS 2007, in press). The scientific dataset is based on more than 40 Ms of high quality observations performed during the first three and a half years of Core Program and public IBIS/ISGRI observations. Compared to previous IBIS/ISGRI surveys, this catalogue includes a substantially increased coverage of extragalactic fields, and comprises more than 400 high-energy sources detected in the energy range 17-100 keV, including both transients and faint persistent objects which can only be revealed with longer exposure times.

Usually, normal operations are interrupted by unexpected events in the X-ray/gamma-ray sky. However, the last part of 2006 was unexpectedly quiet. This changed near the end of December when the black-hole candidate binary GX 339-4 was found to be in a hard X-ray outburst by Swift/BAT. As soon as the source became visible by INTEGRAL it had continued to brighten, and it triggered INTEGRAL TOO observations. The INTEGRAL data of this TOO program is made publicly available, as soon as possible after the observations have been performed. They can be retrieved via anonymous ftp from: ftp://isdcarc.unige.ch/arc/FTP/arc_distr/GX339-4/

In the beginning of February a large X-ray burst from the anomalous X-ray pulsar 4U 0142+61 was found. This triggered TOO observations on INTEGRAL which were implemented in a record time in revolution 528. In the meantime, the high-mass X-ray binary IGRJ 11215-5952, had become active and also triggered TOO observations, which were done a revolution later, i.e. in revolution 529.

For more INTEGRAL news, please see the INTEGRAL Newsletters at http://integral.esac.esa.int//newsletters/

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

The Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) has passed its fifth anniversary somewhat battered by radiation damage but still going strong. A few surprisingly large solar flares have been popping up even as we settle into the solar minimum. RHESSI observations were made of these flares, including gamma-ray lines, using the three of RHESSI's nine detectors that are still free enough of radiation damage to see them. A brief discussion of this late extension of the solar cycle and the RHESSI instrument status are presented in a RHESSI science "nugget" by Pascal Saint-Hilaire and Gerald Share at http://sprg.ssl.berkeley.edu/~tohban/nuggets/?page=article&article_id=45/. We recommend all the short articles at this site for anyone interested in a longer, but entertaining and accessible, summary of RHESSI's activities.

Notice in particular nugget #41, by Sm Krucker and Gordon Hurford of U. C. Berkeley, showing one of the most surprising recent discoveries by RHESSI: gamma-rays > 250 keV seen up in the solar corona during large flares, rather than down in the photosphere at the footpoints where they are thought to belong. The matter for high-energy electrons to interact with is so sparse in the corona that they must be stably trapped there for a minute or more to produce this emission.

For those with more exotic tastes, nugget #50 by Hugh Hudson describes the search for evidence of axions, a dark-matter candidate, from the Sun by Iain Hannah and collaborators (Hannah et al. 2007, ApJ 659, L77). The hypothetical signal would emerge when photons convert to axions via interactions with the magnetic field in the Sun's core, escape the Sun, then reconvert to x rays in the magnetic field of the corona. The result would be an image of the solar core in soft x-rays apparently "shining through" to the outside.

RHESSI also continues to be able to receive transient signals from any direction, although the sensitivity is reduced significantly by radiation damage. Cosmic gamma-ray bursts (see the November 2006 HEAD newsletter) and terrestrial gamma-ray flashes continue to be collected and studied. The very bright but slow classical nova V1280 Sco earlier this year provided a target for RHESSI's capability to search for the positron-annihilation flash which may be among the earliest signals from a nova. The analysis, by Tristan Matthews of U. C. Santa Cruz, so far shows no detectable signal.

By the November 2007 newsletter, we hope to be able to report on a newly youthful RHESSI, reinvigorated by a planned annealing of its detectors to remove radiation damage. In principle this could return it to its full sensitivity for gamma-ray lines.

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10. Swift Mission News - Padi Boyd and Neil Gehrels (GSFC), Lynn Cominsky (Sonoma State) and Robert Naeye (SP Systems/GSFC)

The Swift team heard great news at the January AAS meeting in Seattle. At the HEAD business meeting, Steve Murray announced that the 2007 Rossi Prize has been awarded to Principal Investigator Neil Gehrels and the entire Swift team for their gamma-ray burst discoveries. The citation specifically noted the mission's breakthroughs in helping scientists understand short bursts and GRB afterglows in general.

As of mid-April 2007, Swift continued to operate in good health. The mission had observed 219 GRBs, including 19 short GRBs. Swift has also performed 273 rapid-reaction slews for non-GRB targets of opportunity (TOOs). The TOO request rate has greatly increased in the past six months as more scientists learn about Swift's multi-wavelength capabilities.

Swift has had several recent science highlights. The satellite observed the X-ray afterglow of GRB 060729 for more than 100 days after the burst. Dirk Grupe (Penn State) and his colleagues found that the light curve decays as a power law, with no evidence for a jet break. This result implies either that the jet has an opening angle greater than 25 degrees, or that some unknown process in the GRB outflow (beyond the standard fireball model) is masking the jet break. The typical opening angle of long GRBs is thought to be about 5 degrees.

GRB 070110 also exhibited an unusual X-ray afterglow. The afterglow remained nearly constant in brightness for five hours, then faded rapidly more than tenfold. Eleonora Troja (INAF-IASF of Palermo, Italy) and her colleagues propose that these observations are best explained by a stellar core collapse that produced a magnetar rather than a black hole.

Besides studying GRBs, Swift made important contributions to observations of SN 2006jc, whose progenitor unleashed a major Luminous-Blue-Variable-like outburst just two years before the supernova itself. Swift observations allowed Stefan Immler (GSFC) and his colleagues to measure the mass ejected in the outburst: about 0.01 solar mass. As part of an ongoing survey, Swift has observed 41 supernovae simultaneously in optical, ultraviolet, and X-ray wavelengths.

Hans Krimm (USRA/GSFC) has set up a BAT Hard X-ray Transient Monitor web page, where people can check on the latest transient X-ray sources. The page can be found at http://swift.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/swift/results/transients/ .


An entire day of a conference on SN 1987A was devoted to Swift. A second day of that conference, which was held February 19-23 in Aspen, Colorado, was for papers on GRBs.

An entire conference devoted to Swift was held May 1-2 at Penn State University. Participants in this "What Next for Swift Workshop" discussed the types of contributions that Swift can make to astrophysics over the next few years in addition to continued GRB observations.

Guest Investigator Program Update

Swift Guest Investigator Cycle 3 began April 1, 2007. This year, in addition to funding for GRB theory, multiwavelength follow-up, and new Swift projects, a limited amount of Swift observing time was made available for non-GRB TOOs. The list of approved TOO targets can be found on the Swift website at http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/swift/proposals/c3_acceptarg.html Abstracts of all accepted Swift Cycle 3 programs are available through the NSPIRES site at http://nspires.nasaprs.com/ under the link "Selected Proposals."

For Cycle 4, a limited number of non-transient monitoring programs will also be included in the Guest Investigator program. Details of the Cycle 4 call for proposals can be found at the NSPIRES website under the "Solicitations" link. Swift Cycle 4 is Appendix D.7 of NASA's Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) 2007. The schedule for Swift Cycle 4 is:

* ROSES 2007 NRA Released: February 16, 2007

* Notices of Intent due: September 14, 2007

* Proposals due: November 9, 2007

* Proposal Review: January 2008

More information can be found at http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/swift/proposals/

Swift Software and Pipeline Update

We expect a new release of the Swift data analysis software in mid-summer 2007, as part of the HEASoft package. The most recent version of the software can be downloaded from http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/software/lheasoft/. The current version of the Swift software is 2.6, which was released in December 2006. The Swift Data Center processing and analysis pipeline was updated to run with the current version of the Swift software in February 2007. All Swift users should update their software to the latest released version so they are using the latest tools in their analysis.

The BAT and UVOT software users guides were updated to align with this release. They may be downloaded from http://swift.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/swift/analysis/

Swift E/PO and Public Affairs News:

The Swift E/PO team reports that a new set of four Newton's Law posters is available for download from http://swift.sonoma.edu/education/index.html.

Each poster features beautiful and topic-appropriate artwork by Sonoma State University artist Aurore Simonnet. On the back side of each poster is a description of Newton's Law that explains how the illustrations on the front of the poster relate to this Law, an example of the Law using the Swift spacecraft itself, and an activity that will give students hands-on experience with the Law. Hard copies should be available by the end of 2007.

Swift now has a MySpace site and blog, which includes mission news and images: http://myspace.com/swiftsatellite.

You can order custom Swift logo products such as shirts, hats, bags, and even U.S. postage stamps at http://www.cafepress.com/swiftsatellite.

Our first Swift podcast featuring an interview of Neil Gehrels is now online at http://swift.sonoma.edu/resources/multimedia/audio/index.html.

The latest edition of the Swift newsletter (issue 7) is now online at http://swift.sonoma.edu/resources/multimedia/newsletter/issue_7/index.html.

Goddard's new senior science writer for the Astrophysics Science Division, Robert Naeye, wrote a press release about GRBs 060729 and 070110, and a press release about SN 2006jc.

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11. RXTE News - Padi Boyd, Keith Jahoda, Craig Markwardt, Gail Rohrbach, Evan Smith, Tod Strohmayer, and Jean Swank - GSFC

RXTE contribution to the HEAD Newsletter, 5/01/07. 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) has now passed its first decade in orbit, it continues to serve the astrophysics community, and to produce important scientific results. Some of the most recent results, from Cycle 11, are highlighted below.

The Cycle 12 proposal review was conducted from 2007 April 10 - 11, in Baltimore, MD. The results of the review are now public and can be found at http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/timeline/cycle12_targets.html. A total of 103 proposals were approved for observations, totaling 40 Msec of observing time. Of the accepted proposals, just over half are for targets of opportunity (TOOs).

The Cycle will officially begin on June 29, 2007. Proposals for observing time were selected which could be completed in the 18 months through December 25, 2008. A high proportion, about a third of the good observation time, has recently been for TOOs, and the number of such observations is not otherwise restricted. This has led to delay in carrying out some proposals which are not time critical. Cycle 11 has been extended from March 2 to June 29, 2007 to allow an accumulated backlog of observations to be carried out.

The 2006 senior review recommendation was for RXTE operations to continue through February 2009. Although the Cycle is intended to end December 25, based on past performance we likely would not be done with the observations that the Cycle was committed to finish or with some TOO observations of some active transient. If the 2008 Senior Review confirms this schedule of turn off for RXTE, we will address then what would be the most important observations to make in 2009 to finish the mission (though this would be constrained because the galactic center will be too close to the Sun at that time).

The accepted observing program includes continuation of scans of the Galactic Bulge and the Galactic Center region of the Galactic plane. These observations provide maps of these regions down to a sensitivity of about 1 mCrab every few days, where the ASM instrument may achieve only 30 mCrab due to source confusion, although it observes more often (100 min). Proposals to observe transient objects which are millisecond pulsars, low mass X-ray binaries, magnetars, high mass binary pulsars, and black holes were accepted. Proposals to trigger observations of AGN when GLAST or HESS finds them bright at higher energies were accepted. Observatories like Spitzer, LOFAR, and ROBONET offer the potential of joint science phase space that is of broad interest. Unprecedented monitoring of the eclipsed X-ray source in the eta Carina sytem will continue. Discoveries of pulsations and QPO in selected low mass X-ray binaries will be followed up. Monitoring programs of AGN will be able to improve on low frequency power spectral features.

During the period between the Cycle 12 review and June 29, 2007 it will remain possible to trigger Cycle 11 TOOs, but will also be possible to trigger a Cycle 12 TOO if it does not conflict with a Cycle 11 proposal. Also, it may be possible to schedule Cycle 12 coordinations with other observatories during this time.

The Senior Review of 2006 did not allocate funds to a guest observer program for Cycle 12. It will be possible, however, to submit an ADP proposal for data analysis of RXTE observations. Details on the ADP solicitation can be found at the NASA NSPIRES site: http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/index.do

Science Highlights:

The only Z source transient that has been seen, XTE J1701-462 has continued to oscillate in flux during its decay. It is being watched for the possibility that it will go through ATOLL like behavior as it decays and possibly even become a millisecond pulsar. However, the source continues to oscillate around a level of 400 mCrab. Jeroen Homan (MIT) and colleagues have compared the color - color diagrams as it morphed from the type shown by the most luminous Z sources (Cyg X-2, GX 5-1, GX 340+0) to the type exhibited by Sco X-1.

The Rossi Prizes for 2006 were awarded to Tod Strohmayer (NASA/GSFC), Rudy Wijnands (University of Amsterdam), and Deepto Chakrabarty (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) for their work with RXTE on the millisecond timing properties of accreting neutron stars. All three gave talks at the 2007 January AAS meeting in Seattle. Wijnands focused on the discovery of the accreting millisecond pulsars and the relation of the spin to understanding the kHz quasiperiodic oscillations. Strohmayer discussed the relation to the spin oscillations seen during thermonuclear bursts. Chakrabarty compared the presently observed spin distribution to that of recycled radio pulsars, which confirms the relation between these objects and implies an interesting challenge to understand.

In November 2006 the black hole transient GX 339-4 became active again, for the fourth time during RXTE's lifetime. The outburst has been showing similar, but noticeably different progress and will add another point to the correlation between waiting time and luminosities at the state transitions that Wenfei Yu (Shanghai Astronomical Observatory) and colleagues have reported for recurrent transients.

Galactic black holes exhibit strong low frequency quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs) in several states during outbursts. Using RXTE observations of several confirmed black holes and black hole candidates, Nikolai Shaposhnikov (USRA/CRESST/GSFC) and Lev Titarchuk (NRL) measured their QPO frequency vs power-law slope correlation and used it to measure the mass of the black hole for which a dynamical mass is not available or has been difficult to measure. Comparison of GRS 1915+105 and Cyg X-1 imply that the mass of the Cyg X-1 black hole is 8.7+-0.8 solar masses, compared to the 6.9-13.2 range inferred by Gies & Bolton (1986).

Black holes are famously said to have "no hair," meaning that they can be described in General Relativity by only two parameters, effectively mass and spin. Accurate masses can and have been measured for some black holes, but the spin parameter has been a tougher nut to crack, because its effects are largely restricted to changes in the space-time structure very near the event horizon. RXTE's large throughput and fast timing ability have enabled new efforts to measure black hole spins. Recently, two independent efforts have focused on the micro-quasar GRS 1915+105, and have attempted to use spectral modeling of emission from the inner accretion disk to measure its spin. Jeff McClintock (MIT) and colleagues identify and fit data intervals in which GRS 1915+105 shows spectral behavior characteristic of disk emission. Using fits with fully relativistic models, they argue for a near maximal spin for GRS 1915+105. Matthew Middleton (University of Durham, UK) and collaborators use esentially the same technique, but have a different criteria for selecting the "disk dominated" states. Nevertheless, they also infer a rather high spin rate of 0.7. While each group argues that they've got it right, perhaps more interesting is that they both require a substantial spin rate for the black hole in GRS 1915+105.

One of RXTE's major accomplishments has been to show that the Anomalous X-Ray Pulsars (AXPs) as well as the Soft Gamma-ray Repeaters (SGRs) are "magnetars," neutron stars with super-strong magnetic fields. In March 2007, Rim Dib (McGill University) and colleagues reported that the AXP 1E 1048.1-5937 had a sudden spin-up together with an increase in flux. Follow-up observations found that the source was also bright in the infrared, suggesting that the near-IR and X-ray emission is related. While the glitches and bursts of the AXPs appear to be rare, RXTE monitoring programs led by Vicki Kaspi (also McGill) have now caught most of them exhibiting such behavior. Another recent example is the detection with RXTE of a bright, long burst from the AXP 4U 0142+61. The burst was followed by an extended tail of pulsed emission, lasting almost 30 minutes (see Gavriil et al., ATel 993).

One of the more puzzling X-ray sources in the sky is Circinus X-1. It is a putative high mass binary, although the exact nature of its secondary remains enigmatic. It's X-ray properties are more in line with those exhibited by accreting neutron stars in LMXBs. RXTE observations have further lifted the shroud of mystery surrounding the object. Stratos Boutloukos (University of Amsterdam) and colleagues recently reported the discovery of kilohertz QPOs from the source, but with frequencies characteristically lower than in any other neutron star LMXB. They found the lower and upper kHz QPOs ranging between about 56 and 225, and 230 and 500 Hz, respectively. The properties of these QPOs match well with those of other neutron star kHz QPOs (except for the frequency ranges), providing confirmation that Cir X-1 is indeed an accreting neutron star system. An interesting result is that the separation in frequency between the Cir X-1 kHz QPOs increases with frequency. This is opposite to what is generally seen in other sources, but the authors point out that it is consistent with some models.

Spacecraft and GOF Update

The PCA comprises 5 detectors. One of these is operating currently as well as at launch. The other four require intermittent rest periods. On Dec 25, 2006, a second of these four lost its propane layer. In both cases the xenon layers continue to operate well, with background about twice as high as for the detectors protected by the front propane layer. Background under the new conditions is being accumulated and testing of a response matrix appropriate for the changed conditions is in progress. In both cases the loss of pressure from the propane layers was consistent with effusion from a hole tens of microns in diameter. In neither case were the detectors looking in the direction of the satellite motion. If micrometeorites are responsible, the observed rate of collisions is about 1 in 5 years. Models of orbital debris available from Johnson Space Flight Center would predict a rate on this order, although a detailed comparison has not been made.

The RXTE Web pages now offer a new "Short-form, Short-Term Schedule" viewer that displays a one-line summary of each observation scheduled in a user-specified week. Researchers coordinating observations with other observatories should find this particularly useful. You can find the new Short-Form Short-Term Schedule under the "Timelines & Status" link on the XTE Homepage, or directly at: http://rxte.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/SOF/Schedules/index.php

Please note that the full Short-Term Schedule (ironically called the "Human-readable") remains available, and provides additional details such as observing modes, good time periods, etc.

Mission-long light curves will soon be made public for those sources which have been frequently observed during RXTE's 11 years to date. These will include the PCA and HEXTE in several energy bands. Details will be placed on the RXTE webpage when available. http://rxte.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/xte_1st.html

Education and Public Outreadh

RXTE will distribute the educational booklets "Shedding a New Light on the Universe" at the AstroZone event during the summer AAS meeting in Hawaii. The booklets contain activities about the electromagnetic spectrum, as well as a paper model of the satellite. Much of the booklet content is reproduced on the RXTE learning center at http://rxte.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/learning_center/universe/universe.html

To see a video highlighting RXTE and other high energy astrophysics results, check out the YouTube Groovie Movie at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6mPDXSra5U

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12. Suzaku News - Koji Mukai and Ilana Harrus (GSFC)

In April 2007, Suzaku has started observing Cycle 2 Guest Observer (GO) targets, following the national reviews and international merging meeting. On the US side, we received 156 proposals with an oversubscription factor of 4.4; competitions were similarly strong for proposals submitted to ISAS/JAXA and to ESA.

The HXD has been operating nominally for the last six months. One of the four XIS units, on the other hand, developed a problem in Nov 2006 and has not produced astronomically useful data since then. A micrometeorite impact is a likely cause.

We plan to introduce Version 2 of the Suzaku processing pipeline in June 2007. Complete details will be published at the time, but it will include new calibration files and revised software to handle XIS data taken with spaced-row charge injection (SCI). It is already known that the SCI is a success. Without SCI, the spectral resolution of the XIS shows a significant degradation due to radiation damage; with SCI, the resolution is very close to the value at launch. Therefore, the use of SCI is the norm for all new observations. The public date for observations taken with SCI will be delayed until one year after the availability of Version 2 processed data; in the meantime, the XIS team has produced a workaround so that GOs can analyze SCI-on data with current software to a useful degree.

The HXD team has been continuously studying the temporal and spectral properties of the in-orbit detector background, by using the data accumulated during Earth occultations. An empirical model has been developed, and the estimated background is distributed to GOs as "faked" event files. The reproducibility of the current model is estimated to be smaller than 5%.

The Suzaku archive is scheduled to open on May 27, 2007, when most of the Science Working Group data, obtained before Mar 31, 2006, will become public. We also note that US-based investigator will be able to request funding to analyze these data through Astrophysics Data Analysis element of ROSES-2007, whose deadline is June 22, 2007.

The Suzaku special issue of the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan (PASJ) is now available. It includes 30 papers, both on instrumentation and on astrophysical results. The Suzaku team is planning for a second Suzaku special issue of PASJ. The deadline for submission is May 31, 2007. Guest Observers are welcome to publish in this special issue; interested GOs should contact the Suzaku project, through the Suzaku pages at ISAS/JAXA or the Suzaku GOF page at NASA/GSFC.

Following on from the success of "the Extreme Universe in the Suzaku Era" conference held in Kyoto in Dec 2006, we are organizing a similar conference in the US. The conference is titled "Suzaku X-ray Universe", to be held Dec 10-12, 2007, in San Diego, and further details can be found at: http://www.confcon.com/suzaku2007/index.php

Suzaku EPO News:

Suzaku EPO activities have been quite diverse.

1) The Suzaku Educator Ambassador Marie Pool (Oklahoma) presented a Suzaku workshop on March 30 at the NSTA (National Science Teacher Association) National Conference in Saint Louis.

2) Jim Lochner and Sara Mitchell attended the "Celebration of Teaching and Learning" in NYC (March 23-24) and distributed about 250 DVDs and Teacher Guides to the attendees. People interested in receiving either the DVD or the teacher guide can contact us at: http://suzaku-epo.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/suzaku-epo/contact/who.html

3) The new issue of the Suzaku Newsletter for Teachers "SuzNews" was published in February. It is available for all teachers at: http://suzaku-epo.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/suzaku-epo/newsletter/suznuz.html

4) The entire team is continuing the work with Marni Berendsen (ASP) and the EPO group at Sonoma State University on finalizing the themes and messages for the Extreme Universe Toolkit for ASP's Night Sky Network. We also worked with them to suggest and brainstorm activities to illustrate those messages.

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13. GLAST Mission News - Steven Ritz (GSFC), Lynn Cominsky (Sonoma State) and Robert Naeye (SP Systems/GSFC)

Thanks to dedicated engineers, managers, and scientists, the components have been assembled onto the spacecraft, which passed the Pre-Environmental Review on April 11-12. The integrated spacecraft will soon undergo more than four months of environmental testing at General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, in Gilbert, Az. Pictures of the observatory may be found here: http://glast.gsfc.nasa.gov/public/resources/images/.

Due to competition with other planned launches from Cape Canaveral and other program considerations, the GLAST launch will occur no earlier than December 14. The GLAST team is considering the options and implications for a launch delay of up to a few months. Early planning of guest activities at the launch has started.

Meetings and Workshops:

GLAST Users Committee meetings were held at Goddard on November 16-17, 2006, and at Stanford University on February 4, 2007. Telecons are held about every two months. The next meeting will be at Goddard on June 4-5, 2007.

A GLAST special session was held at the January AAS meeting in Seattle.

On February 2 at Stanford, the Science Working Group reviewed the expected performance of the LAT, the GLAST Burst Monitor (GBM), and the overall mission relative to the Science Requirements Document (SRD). The SWG was very impressed and appreciated all the work that has been done.

More than 350 scientists attended the First International GLAST Symposium at Stanford from February 5-8. It was a great meeting, with talks covering a wide variety of topics that GLAST will study. Visit http://glast.gsfc.nasa.gov/science/symposium/2007/ to see a list of talks.

Guest investigator workshops were held near Washington, DC in January ( http://glast.gsfc.nasa.gov/science/resources/workshop07/ ), near Chicago in April ( //www.hep.anl.gov/glast_workshop/index.html ), and in Los Angeles in May ( http://gamma1.astro.ucla.edu/glast_2007/ ). Additional workshops are being planned.

A LAT collaboration meeting was held the week of March 26 at Goddard, and the next meeting will be held in late July at Stanford.

A workshop on VLBI in the GLAST Era was held on April 23-24 at Goddard.

GLAST project scientist Steve Ritz, along with deputy project scientists Neil Gehrels and Julie McEnery, visited the Swift Mission Operations Center at Penn State in March to discuss GLAST-Swift cooperation.

Guest Investigator Opportunities:

The announcement for the first NASA-funded GLAST Guest Investigator (GI) Cycle was released in March. This program provides an opportunity for people at U.S. institutions to obtain financial support for GLAST studies. The GI program includes funding opportunities for (1) analysis of released data, (2) correlated GLAST-related multi-wavelength observations, (3) GLAST-related theory, and (4) GLAST-related analysis methodology. Proposals are due September 7, with optional NOIs due on July 13. See http://glast.gsfc.nasa.gov/ssc/ for more details.

To sign up for the GLAST News, send an email to: majordomo@athena.gsfc.nasa.gov (leave the subject line blank). In the body of the message, please write the following: subscribe glastnews your-email-address.


The GLAST-sponsored PBS NOVA special "Monster of the Milky Way" first aired on October 31, 2006, and can be downloaded at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/blackhole/. The accompanying planetarium show, "Black Holes: the Other Side of Infinity," is now playing at Chicago's Adler Planetarium. Many attendees enjoyed a special February screening at the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, which was held in conjunction with the first GLAST Science Symposium at Stanford University. Sarah Silva and her colleagues presented the educational aspects of this show in a poster at the January AAS meeting in Seattle.

The GLAST-sponsored "Solar Supernova?" interactive web game has now been released at http://mystery.sonoma.edu/. In the mystery Professor Starsapoppin tries to figure out what will happen to our Sun by studying the evolution of many different types of stars.

Lynn Cominsky (Sonoma State) featured The Global Telescope Network during an invited talk given in a special education session at December's American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, titled "Bringing Real-time Astronomical Observations into the Classroom." Cominsky has also been invited to give a similar talk at the American Association of Physics Teachers meeting in July 2007. In preparation for launch, the GTN has been monitoring the visible light emitted from two dozen blazars in support of GLAST science objectives for almost two years now.

The GLAST Education and Public Outreach effort at Sonoma State is gearing up for launch! The GLAST Paper Model is being beta-tested now by volunteers who were recruited at March's LAT Team Collaboration meeting at Goddard. It is one of the many products that will be distributed to attendees at launch and is now available for download at http://glast.sonoma.edu/materials.html.

Our first GLAST podcast, featuring an interview of LAT Principal Investigator Peter Michelson, is now online at http://glast.sonoma.edu/resources/multimedia/audio/index.html.

Be sure to tell friends about GLAST's new MySpace site and blog, which is regularly updated to include mission news and images: http://myspace.com/glast. You can order custom GLAST logo products, including shirts, clocks, teddy bears, and even custom GLAST U.S. postage stamps at http://cafepress.com/glast.

GLAST Public Affairs

GLAST public affairs telecons have restarted and now occur on a biweekly basis. Rob Gutro (GSFC) moderates these telecons, which focus on coordination of press-related activities.

Rob Gutro is working on a Public Affairs Plan, which will describe public affairs and outreach efforts, written materials, press events, communications to NASA employees, creating and updating a website, and more.

Robert Naeye (SP Systems/GSFC) wrote a press release about the Pre-Environmental Review and environmental testing. It was issued on April 11. More press releases will be issued in the months ahead to inform the media about the mission and its schedule of milestone events.

Among various other activities to promote the mission, Rob Gutro and Robert Naeye are compiling a GLAST Science Writers Guide. The Guide is intended to be a handy source of basic GLAST information for journalists, and it is being based on successful Guides from other missions.

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14. Constellation X Mission Update - Jay Bookbinder for the Con-X Team

The Con-X Science Enhancement Package Request for Information that was released in October 2006 generated nearly a dozen white-paper responses, with updated concepts for both gratings and hard X-ray telescopes. Noteworthy is the fact that the grating concepts that were submitted provide better resolution that the original baseline configuration, and potentially higher throughput. The Project took these concepts to the GSFC Integrated Mission Design Center (IMDC) in December for a one-week, in-depth effort to refine the Con-X mission configuration and observatory design, and to assess the impact of the SEP. Innovative work by the IMDC staff and our engineers resulted in a configuration that was able to accommodate both a hard X-ray telescope and a grating within the mission constraints.

A Facility Science Team meeting was held at GSFC in December, with approximately 100 people attending. The first day of the meeting was dedicated to discussion of various options to enhance the low and high energy capabilities of Con-X and a presentation of the IMDC efforts; the next two days covered the science that would be done with a Con-X configuration that included these enhancements. Based on these discussions with the FST, we slightly revised the top level requirements: the field of view of the calorimeter has been expanded to 5x5 arcmin from the original 2.5x2.5 arcmin (and the goal was increased to 10x10 arcmin), and the energy resolving power requirement is now 1250 from 0.3 to 1.0 keV, up from the baseline of 300. These changes will enhance our ability to study clusters and the WHIM, respectively.

On the technical side of the program, the optics team is continuing their efforts. Mirror coating stress studies, mirror alignment concepts (both active and passive), mirror mounting schemes, glass strength studies, optimization studies of the mirror segment size, and the mirror segment fabrication efforts have all continued.

On the detector side, the TES calorimeter team at GSFC is now routinely obtaining < 3 eV resolution FWHM at 6 keV using arrays with electroplated Au absorbers, the best resolution is 2.3 eV. The main discovery contributing to these results is the realization that low-stress mounting of the arrays results in uniform transition temperatures and requires application of no magnetic field (or a field small compared to Earth's field) to maximize the transition temperature.

In addition to the ongoing hardware development efforts, the Project has begun a new effort to refine the Integration and Test activities, including expected calibration needs.

Since our last update to the HEAD community, all of the Beyond Einstein missions have devoted substantial effort to support a review by the National Academy (National Research Council) Committee that was requested by NASA and DOE. The charge to the Committee is to recommend one of the Beyond Einstein missions to proceed first, drawing from both the large observatories (Con-X and LISA), and the Probe-class missions (JDEM, Black Hole Finder and Cosmic Inflation Probe). This first mission will utilize a funding wedge that is planned in FY09. More information on this review process, including the charge to the Committee, is available at the Beyond Einstein Program Assessment Committee (BEPAC) website: http://www7.nationalacademies.org/ssb/BeyondEinsteinPublic.html. The formal Con-X presentations to the Committee can be found at our website: http://constellation.gsfc.nasa.gov/

The committee has now concluded its efforts at collecting public inputs from the community as a whole at a series of town hall meetings in Irvine, Cambridge, Baltimore and Chicago. At each of these meetings, 5-minute oral presentations were selected from community members who submitted abstracts, and all attendees had the opportunity to speak during open-microphone sessions. The community is clearly very supportive of Con-X, with over half of all of these talks in support of Con-X. The wide range of presentations from the solid state astrophysics of dust in the interstellar medium to the role of feedback in the evolution of galaxy clusters gave evidence to the committee of the breadth of science that can be addressed by the Constellation X-ray mission.

In addition to supporting the public meetings of the BEPAC, the Project has responded formally to a series of questions from the BEPAC on a variety of technical and programmatic questions. The first set of 39 detailed questions was received in mid December, and a response due near the end of January, it was a very active holiday season for the team. Another set of 9 questions came from the committee in late March, and responses were submitted in early April, and we are currently working on the last question that we just received. The committee's final report to NASA and DOE is due out in early September, and we want to thank everyone who has helped in preparing our responses, as well as those who have gone to the effort of presenting their thoughts to the Committee!

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15. LISA Mission Update - Tom Prince and Bonny Schumaker, JPL

NRC Beyond Einstein Program Assessment Committee (BEPAC)

As many of you know, the US National Research Council is assessing the NASA Beyond Einstein Program in a major review over several months. The first BEPAC meeting took place last Fall in Washington, DC, followed by a meeting in Newport Beach in January and a third meeting in Chicago at the beginning of April. The Newport Beach and Chicago meetings included "town hall" sessions for community input. Additional town hall meetings were held in Boston and in Baltimore.

The April meeting of the BEPAC in Chicago included an important presentation by Dr. David Southwood, Director of Science for the European Space Agency, who spoke on "LISA and LISA Pathfinder". Viewgraphs from the presentation can be found at: http://www7.nationalacademies.org/ssb/BE_mtg_3_IL.html These describe the current status of LISA and LISA Pathfinder within ESA and also provide a description of recent decisions about the Cosmic Visions Program within ESA.

The BEPAC plans to have one additional meeting in June and the Committee is expected to present its recommendations in September.

LISA International Science Community (LISC)

The LISA International Science Community (LISC) is open to membership for all people working on any aspect of LISA science, physics, or technology and all researchers interested in learning more and keeping informed about LISA. The LISC is maintained by the LISA International Science Team for the purpose of exchanging information about LISA with the wider science community. Currently, the LISC has over 200 members from more than a hundred different institutions from around the world (for a list of these institutions, see http://www.lisascience.org/about-the-lisc/home-institutions ). To join the LISC, visit http://www.lisascience.org/joining-the-lisc.

People who are not directly involved in LISA research but who want to be informed about LISA or participate in discussions may simply join the LISC web portal, www.lisascience.org. The LISC web portal features LISA-related news, introductory and advocacy resources, useful links, and discussion boards among LISC members. A large collection of material is available that can be used for lectures and presentations about LISA at both public outreach and academic levels. This includes images and many reports, articles, and other documents. Links are provided for accessing all public LISA-related publications, preprints, conference proceedings, and presentations, such as those made recently to the Beyond Einstein Program Advisory Committee of the National Academy of Sciences. For example, the most current document describing and motivating the science to be accomplished by LISA, titled "LISA: Probing the Universe with Gravitational Waves," can be found at http://www.lisascience.org/resources/talks-articles/science. Among other regular LISA updates, the LISC portal also provides electronic copies of past and current issues of the LISA Newsletter ( http://www.lisascience.org/newsletter), hard copies of which are available to LISC members.

Mock LISA Data Challenges (MLDC)

The Mock LISA Data Challenges (MLDC) are a program sponsored by the LISA International Science Team to foster the development of LISA data-analysis tools and capabilities, and to demonstrate the technical readiness already achieved by the gravitational-wave community in distilling a rich science payoff from the LISA data output. Each challenge in the series involves the distribution of several datasets, encoded in a simple standard format, and containing combinations of the fundamental LISA noises with the signals from one or more LISA gravitational-wave sources of undisclosed parameters. Challenge participants are asked to return the maximum amount of information about the GW sources, and to produce technical notes detailing their work.

The Challenge-1 datasets, including signals from isolated or mildly interfering sources featured in the LISA minimum requirements (compact Galactic binaries and supermassive black-hole binaries) were released in June 2006. Results were due at the beginning of December, and were presented shortly thereafter at Postdam's 11th Gravitational-Wave Data-Analysis Workshop (see gr-qc/0701139). Ten collaborations submitted entries, covering all source classes, and adopting many different data-analysis methods. Several results were spot-on; others identified differences in conventions and other minor problems; all provided useful information to understand LISA data analysis and move on to the next stage of the MLDC program.

Challenge-2 datasets, introducing the problem of global analysis in the LISA data (and including signals from a 30-million-source Galactic model and from 4-6 massive black hole binaries and 5 extreme-mass-ratio inspirals) were distributed at the end of January (see gr-qc/0701170). Results are due on June 15, in time to be presented and discussed at the Sydney Amaldi meeting. Challenge 3, to be released at the end of 2007, is expected to introduce yet more LISA sources, such as bursts and stochastic backgrounds, and to include more refined models of Galactic binary and massive--black-hole binary-- --waveforms.

We encourage all interested parties to participate in the challenges. To learn more about them (or even enroll!), please visit the official MLDC website ( http://astrogravs.nasa.gov/docs/mldc), which includes links to the challenge datasets and to a variety of useful software tools, including the LISA simulators used to generate the datasets, and code libraries to read them. For more information, contact the MLDC Taskforce co-chairs Alberto Vecchio (av@star.sr.bham.ac.uk) and Michele Vallisneri (Michele.Vallisneri@jpl.nasa.gov).

Black Hole Merger Simulations

Progress in simulating binary black hole (BBH) mergers continues at an impressive rate, with a number of key results emerging in the past few months.

For equal mass nonspinning black holes, longer simulations with roughly 7 orbits followed by the merger and ringdown are now available (Baker et al., gr-qc/0612117). These waveforms have been used to calculate signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) for various detectors, demonstrating the improvement in SNR expected from the addition of the merger signal. In particular, advanced LIGO can achieve SNR > 10 for some intermediate mass BBHs out to z ~ 1, and SNR > 100 across the Local Supercluster. LISA can see massive BBHs in the range 3 10^4 < M/M_sun < 10^7 at SNR > 100 out to the earliest epochs of structure formation at z > 15.

Early work in 2006 hinted that the numerical relativity waveforms in the late part of the inspiral, prior to merger, were strikingly close to those calculated by post-Newtonian (PN) techniques. Recently, quantitative comparisons between the PN and numerical relativity results have been carried out (Buonanno, Cook, and Pretorius, gr-qc/0610122; Baker et al., gr-qc/0612024), showing that the numerically calculated waveforms are very close to those calculated using 3.5 PN analytic techniques, and in particular to the 3.5 PN templates used for LIGO data analysis, as confirmed in a recent paper by Pan et al. (arXiv:0704.1964).

Calculations of recoil kicks from mergers of spinning BBHs made big news early in 2007, and especially caught the attention of astrophysicists. Simulations of equal mass BBHs with spins aligned or anti-aligned with the orbital angular momentum produced kick velocities up to ~ 400 km/s for BHs with a/m ~ 0.8 (Herrmann et al., gr-qc/0701143; Koppitz et al., gr-qc/0701163); these aligned/anti-aligned results can be modeled to within 10% (Baker et al., astro-ph/0702390). These kicks are more than double the maximum kick velocity ~ 176 km/s for q ~ 0.36 calculated for nonequal mass, nonspinning BBHs (Gonzalez et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 091101, 2007, and gr-qc/0610154).

Even more surprising were the much larger kick velocities found for mergers of BBHs with their spins initially in the orbital plane. Gonzalez et al. (gr-qc/0702052) and Tichy & Marronetti (gr-qc/0703075) demonstrate kick velocities ~ 2000 km/s, and Campanelli et al. (gr-qc/0701164) predict possible kicks velocities as large as 4000 km/s! Numerical relativists are continuing to explore this very interesting parameter space...stay tuned!

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16. Meeting Announcements - a partial list!

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.

Obscured AGN across Cosmic Time Kloster Seeon, Bavaria, Germany 5-7 June 2007

Current deep surveys, notably in X-rays and the mid-IR, are making it possible to carry out a census of essentially all the luminous AGN in the universe. By penetrating the obscuration that, in Type II sources, hides the nuclear regions in the UV to the near-IR spectrum, these new surveys are finding the radio quiet counterparts of the powerful radio galaxies.

The completion of such a census has substantial cosmological significance since it will provide the foundation for identifying the role of AGN feedback in the galaxy formation process. The Type II sources are of particular value here since, by acting as their own coronographs, they facilitate the study of the star formation activity and the investigation of the correlated growth of the black hole and the host galaxy.

While radio galaxies - which are being used to trace the massive galaxy population at all epochs - have been studied intensively for the past 40 years, their radio quiet counterparts beyond the local universe are only now being discovered in substantial numbers. The workshop aims to bring together the established radio galaxy community with the students of the radio quiet sources and so help to elucidate the effects of the (possibly) different host galaxies and environment and those of the powerful radio jets. More information at http://www.eso.org/gen-fac/meetings/agnii2007/

"X-ray surveys: Evolution of accretion, star-formation and the large scale structure", Rodos island, Greece 2 - 6 July, 2007

Chandra and XMM-Newton extragalactic surveys have provided a wealth of exciting discoveries in the past few years. The largest fraction of the X-ray backgound has been resolved yielding the strongest constraints yet on the accretion history of the Universe. XMM-Newton systematically detects clusters of galaxies at high redshift providing invaluable cosmological information. Parallel to the observational constraints, theoretical modelling of cluster formation and evolution has also seen tremendous progress in the past few years. At the same time a large number of X-ray selected normal galaxies have been detected in both deep fields and wide field bright surveys, helping us to probe for the first time the star-formation rate and its evolution in X-ray wavelengths. Large area contiguous surveys start to probe the AGN clustering properties and their environment. The scope of the meeting is to examine in detail such recent X-ray survey findings and their cosmolog\ ical implications, paving the way for future X-ray missions.

Additional information can be obtained at email: xray07@astro.noa.gr or www : www.astro.noa.gr/~xray07

"XMM-Newton: The Next Decade" XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre, European Space Astronomy Centre, Madrid, Spain 4-6 June 2007

Thanks to the recent generation of high energy observatories, astrophysics is witnessing a golden age of discovery in the X-ray domain. Current technical evaluation demonstrates that the XMM-Newton spacecraft and its scientific instruments can continue to provide first class X-ray observations far into the next decade. Other missions to be launched soon, like Herschel, Planck, GLAST, as well as new ground-based developments, will open up new challenging opportunities for multi-wavelength and follow-up observations to which XMM-Newton is ideally placed to make a major contribution.

The workshop will summarise our current knowledge of X-ray astrophysics, discuss some of the major achievements of the past years and identify the fundamental questions still to be addressed. With this starting point, the main focus of the workshop will be to identify the scientific topics with the highest scientific importance and impact and the observing programs of maximum long-term value to the entire astronomical community. These programs may require large amounts of observing time on one or more targets or sky areas, collaborations of many astronomers from several institutions, innovative ideas or applications, or modified instrument modes.

The workshop program will include invited speakers, a discussion panel, and both oral and poster sessions enabling all participants to present their ideas related to programs for the next decade in the life of XMM-Newton and their needs for new operating modes.

web site: http://xmm.esac.esa.int/external/xmm_science/workshops/2007_science/

"Tracing Cosmic Evolution with Clusters of Galaxies: Six Years Later" Sesto Pusteria, Italy June 25-29 2007

Over the last six years, a host of new multi-wavelength observations have substantially changed our view of galaxy clusters, have fueled significant progress in our understanding of their formation and evolution, and at the same time have opened new outstanding questions. New X-ray observations have revealed the complexity of the Intra- Cluster Medium which challenge our physical models. An increasing number of studies of clusters at z>1 have shed new light on the epoch and formation history of cluster galaxies in contrast with those in lower density environments. The application of gravitational lensing techniques on spectacular HST-ACS data has allowed the dark matter mass distribution in the inner cores of cluster halos to be investigated. The much wider dynamical ranges now accessible to numerical simulations have led to a new understanding of the achievements and of the shortcomings of the current modelling of galaxy clusters in the cosmological framework.

The aim of this conference is to bring together both theoreticians and observational astronomers working at different wavelengths to discuss both recent results and future prospects in the study of cosmic evolution through galaxy clusters.

web site: http://www.si.inaf.it/sesto2007/

"Obscured AGN across Cosmic Time" Kloster Seeon, Bavaria, Germany 5-7 June 2007

Current deep surveys, notably in X-rays and the mid-IR, are making it possible to carry out a census of essentially all the luminous AGN in the universe. By penetrating the obscuration that, in Type II sources, hides the nuclear regions in the UV to the near-IR spectrum, these new surveys are finding the radio quiet counterparts of the powerful radio galaxies.

The completion of such a census has substantial cosmological significance since it will provide the foundation for identifying the role of AGN feedback in the galaxy formation process. The Type II sources are of particular value here since, by acting as their own coronographs, they facilitate the study of the star formation activity and the investigation of the correlated growth of the black hole and the host galaxy.

While radio galaxies - which are being used to trace the massive galaxy population at all epochs - have been studied intensively for the past 40 years, their radio quiet counterparts beyond the local universe are only now being discovered in substantial numbers. The workshop aims to bring together the established radio galaxy community with the students of the radio quiet sources and so help to elucidate the effects of the (possibly) different host galaxies and environment and those of the powerful radio jets. More information at http://www.eso.org/gen-fac/meetings/agnii2007/

"Forty Years of X-ray Astronomy: A Workshop in honor of Gordon Garmire's 70th birthday, Penn State University 14 - 15 June, 2007

To celebrate the 70th birthday of Evan Pugh Professor Gordon P. Garmire, Penn State University is organizing a 2-day workshop on instrumentation in high energy astrophysics. Projects from the 1960s-2000s in which Gordon played a major role will be reviewed: OSO-3, HEAO-1, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Brief presentations will present recent science emerging from Gordon's Chandra team. Most of the workshop will feature presentations and discussion on current developments and future prospects for advanced technologies in high energy astrophysics. The workshop Web site lists the invited speakers.

*** Contributed papers on the latest developments in detectors, optics and mission concepts for X-ray astronomy are warmly invited. ***

Please see the workshop Web site, http://www.astro.psu.edu/40yrs, fill out a registration form, and join us in June. Registration deadline: April 15 2007

"SciNeGHE07: Fifth Workshop on Science with the New Generation of High Energy Gamma-ray Experiments" Villa Mondragone, Frascati, Rome, (Italy) June 18 - 20; website: http://www.roma2.infn.it/SciNeGHE07/

This will be the fifth of a series of Workshops on High Energy Gamma- ray Experiments, following the Conferences held in Perugia 2003, Bari 2004, Cividale del Friuli 2005, Elba Island 2006. This year the focus will be on the use of gamma-ray to study the Dark Matter component of the Universe, the origin and propagation of Cosmic Rays, Extra Large Spatial Dimensions and Tests of Lorentz Invariance. An update on the current and planned research for space- borne and ground- based experiments dedicated to the observation of the gamma-ray sky will be given. Among the participants there are both hardened veterans of the first dedicated gamma-ray missions (like SAS-2 COS-B, CGRO) and young students entering the fascinating field of gamma-ray astrophysics participating in the new generation of high energy gamma-ray astrophysics experiments like GLAST, AGILE, MAGIC, HESS, VERITAS and ARGO.

"Astrophysics of Compact Objects" Huangshan, China 1 - 7 July, 2007

The meeting will address recent observational and theoretical developments in the study of neutron stars, black holes and white dwarfs, including their various observational manifestations such as pulsars, magnetars, x-ray binaries, supernovae and gamma ray bursts, as well as future observational prospects (such as gravitational waves). While the meeting will focus on stellar compact objects, the common astrophysics (such as accretion) associated with both galactic and supermassive black holes will be covered. The meeting will take place in the tourist city of Huangshan, near the world famous Huangshan mountain (Yellow Mountain).

Contributed papers on the latest developments in compact object research are warmly invited. Abstract submission deadline: May 1, 2007. registration deadline: May 15, 2007. Meeting web site: http://www.cfa.ustc.edu.cn/meeting/aco/

"X-ray surveys: Evolution of accretion, star-formation and the large scale structure", Rodos island, Greece 2 - 6 July, 2007

Chandra and XMM-Newton extragalactic surveys have provided a wealth of exciting discoveries in the past few years. The largest fraction of the X-ray backgound has been resolved yielding the strongest constraints yet on the accretion history of the Universe. XMM-Newton systematically detects clusters of galaxies at high redshift providing invaluable cosmological information. Parallel to the observational constraints, theoretical modelling of cluster formation and evolution has also seen tremendous progress in the past few years. At the same time a large number of X-ray selected normal galaxies have been detected in both deep fields and wide field bright surveys, helping us to probe for the first time the star-formation rate and its evolution in X-ray wavelengths. Large area contiguous surveys start to probe the AGN clustering properties and their environment. The scope of the meeting is to examine in detail such recent X-ray survey findings and their cosmolog\ ical implications, paving the way for future X-ray missions.

Additional information can be obtained at email: xray07@astro.noa.gr or www : www.astro.noa.gr/~xray07

" X-ray Grating Spectroscopy: Kinematics and Conditions in Hot Gas" Cambridge, MA July 11-13

Workshop Goals: review progress afforded by X-ray grating spectroscopy of extragalactic and galactic sources; compare/contrast physical conditions, estimates of location, geometry and kinematics of X-ray emitters/absorbers, encompassing collisionally and photo-excited gas across different source types; review and compare available atomic data and codes, and provide a forum for discussion of controversial or unexpected new results and potential new strategies for Chandra/XMM grating observations. Web site: http://cxc.harvard.edu/xgratings07

"The Fifth International X-ray Astronomy School", Washington DC Aug 6-10

There are currently five operating X-ray astronomy satellites, Chandra, RXTE, Swift, Suzaku, and XMM-Newton, in addition to the on-line archives from earlier missions. X-ray astronomy is thus an important resource for research in many topics in astrophysics. However, many astronomers have never analyzed X-ray data and do not have a clear idea of the methods and challenges involved.

To enable young astronomers to get a good command of an important sub-topic in astronomy, we are organizing our fifth 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. However, the school does include a hands-on component in which participants will analyze an X-ray dataset of their choice using the standard software. The school is organized jointly by the HEASARC, the Chandra X-ray Center, CRESST, and the Physics Department, The George Washington University.

More information can be found at http://xrayschool.gsfc.nasa.gov

"40 Years of Pulsars: Millisecond Pulsars, Magnetars, and More", McGill University Montreal, Canada Aug 12-17

Science topics include: Pulsar searches and timing; accretion and recycling; millisecond pulsars in the field and in globular clusters; young neutron stars, including magnetars, traditional Crab-like pulsars, and isolated neutron stars; glitches, precession, and nulling; binary pulsars, including the double pulsar; constraints on mass, radius, and the equation of state; new and future instrumentation.

The meeting will also include brief anecdotal talks from eminent pulsar researchers, giving their personal recollections of important moments in pulsar history.

Andrew Cumming and Vicky Kaspi are the Co-Organizers. The conference website is http://www.ns2007.org

"Legacy of Multi-wavelength Surveys" Xining, China August 19-25

Astronomy won't progress much without systematic multiwavelength surveys, and the star formation is one of the most fundamental processes linking essentially every aspect of the physical phenomena in the Universe. We have witnessed explosive growth in survey data in the last decade of both systematic ground-based "entire" sky surveys such as SDSS and 2MASS and dedicated surveys of both ground and space based, like SINGS, CFHT, SWIRE, COSMOS, GOODS, and AEGIS etc. Many surveys are forthcoming, particularly with facilities coming online such as AKARI(Astro-F), SCUBA2, Herschel, WISE, LMT, to name a few, and eventually ALMA, JWST. Multi-wavelength studies of galaxies at high redshifts require knowledge of more detailed physics on star formation and AGN from studies of local galaxies including our own. This meeting tries to establish a connection between people from both sides, to better understand star formation near and far, and examine progress that has been made so far.

China is devoted to develop astronomical facilitites (LAMOST, FAST) for surveys as well. It is therefore timely to bring together many of the leading figures of the large survey programs and users of these survey data, to discuss how to best exploit these datasets, and pass the legacy to the new generations.

The meeting location Xining, gateway to Lhasa, Tibet by the Sky Train, is the capital city of Qinghai province. Xining. Web site: http://sfig.pmo.ac.cn/xining

"TeV Particle Astrophysics" Venice, Italy August 27-31

In 2007 - 2008, the Large Hadron Collider will start exploring the TeV frontier, searching for signals of Physics beyond the Standard model. Meanwhile, several Particle Astrophysics experiments are about to start, or have already started, the exploration of the Universe at similar, and much higher, energies.

It is therefore timely to focus on the interplay between astrophysical observations and fundamental physics at the TeV scale, and to prepare common strategies to interpret new data in a consistent picture.

The aim of the workshop is to understand what we can learn from present and upcoming experiments at the TeV scale and above, and what are the prospects for discovering and understanding new physics with accelerator and astrophysical searches. web site: http://www.pd.infn.it/TeV

"The Suzaku X-ray Universe" San Diego, CA December 10-12, 2007

This conference will highlight results from the 5th Japanese satellite Suzaku (Astro-EII) http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/suzaku/index.shtml which was launched on July 10, 2005. It will be the first to present the results of both the performance verification phase and guest observer program. The conference topics will cover all aspects of the mission science, from stellar astrophysics to the most distant quasars. The conference is hosted by the University of California, San Diego, with the conference located at the Catamaran Resort Hotel, located on Mission Bay in San Diego.

To register for the meeting please go to the conference web site: http://www.confcon.com/suzaku2007/index.php


HEAD Meetings

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, March31 - April 3, 2008, Los Angelos, CA.    

17. Obituaries for Kenneth Greisen, Herb Gursky and Bohdan Paczynski

HEAD co-founder and cosmic ray pioneer Kenneth I. Greisen

Kenneth Ingvard Greisen, a cosmic ray pioneer and a co-founder of the HEAD, died on March 17 in Ithaca, N.Y at age 89. Dr. Greisen's name will be remembered as the first author on a paper describing the GZK cutoff, a theory he developed with Drs. Georgi Zatsepin and Vadim Kuzmin. The theory predicts an upper limit to the energy of cosmic rays due to their interactions with the CMB.

Dr. Greisen was one of the HEAD's founding members, and served as its first chair in 1970-71. In an article published in "The AAS's First Century" on the history of HEAD, Dr. Virginia Trimble recalls the debates on the definition of high-energy astrophysics and the role of the division. The HEAD was initially conceived to prevent the creation of a complete separated society that would, to quote Riccardo Giacconi, "see that X-ray astronomy was properly represented at meetings." The division's creation also increased contacts between astronomers and physicists working on similar subjects.

Kenneth I. Greisen was born in New Jersey. He graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in 1938 and earned his doctorate in physics from Cornell in 1942. He remained at Cornell for the remainder of his career, except for the time he spent working in Los Alamos on the Manhattan Project from 1943 to 1946. Dr. Greisen is survived by a son, Eric Greisen of New Mexico; a daughter, Kathryn Greisen of Ohio; stepchildren Heather Wiltberger of Virginia, Lois Wiltberger of Massachusetts, and Paul Wiltberger of Washington state; and two grandchildren.

Herbert Gursky, co-discoverer of the first cosmic X-ray source

Herb Gursky, Riccardo Giacconi, Frank Paolini, and Bruno Rossi carried out the rocket flight in 1962 that detected the first cosmic source of X-ray emission, Sco X-1. At American Science and Enginineering, Herb was vice president for space research and also analysed observations from the Uhuru satellite, of galactic sources (e.g. recognizing that the optical counterparts of X-ray sources could be bright stars (e.g. 1700-37 and 0900-40), not relatively faint as found for Sco X-1) and noted the association of Uhuru X-ray sources with clusters of galaxies. At AS&E, Herb also worked on solar physics and magnetospheric research. In 1973, Herb moved to the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory where he was also a professor in the Harvard Department of Astronomy. He helped oversee the completion of the Mount Hopkins, Multiple Mirror Telescope, a joint project of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the University of Arizona.

Herb joined the NRL in 1981 and became principal investigator for several NASA satellites. During his career, he co-edited two books and wrote authored more than 100 articles on X-ray astronomy.

Herb died December 1 at the age of 76. He is survived by his wife Flora Aronson Gursky of Great Falls, Virginia, two sons, David Gursky of Las Vegas and Robert Gursky of Glastonbury, Conn., a brother, and three grandchildren.

Bohdan Paczynski - Theoretical Astrophysicist

Bohdan Paczynski contributed substantially to our understanding in many areas of astrophysics and opened new areas of research. In the 1980's, in one of his best known papers (Gravitational microlensing by the galactic halo", ApJ 304, 1) he demonstrated how monitoring the brightness of millions of stars could detect microlensing events which could be used to determine the nature of dark objects in the halo of the Milky Way. In 1995, Professor Paczynski engaged in a debate with Don Lamb, held at the Smithsonian Washington, over the nature and origin of gamma ray bursts, arguing that they were very energetic events originating at cosmological distances. Don Lamb argued for a much more local origin to explain their isotropic distribution in the sky. In 1997, the first measure of a redshift from an optical afterglow of a burst showed that bursts had a cosmological origin, from galaxies other than our own, and to quote Don Lamb "showed how incredibly prescient Bohdan Paczynski had been in his work." Dr. Paczynski helped to establish the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment to measure stellar variability, which operates from a telescope at Las Campanas Chile. Data is shared on the internet. The OGLE program also identified extrasolar planets, detecting them by the slight dimming of the star as its planet passed between it and the Earth. More recently, Dr. Paczynski and Grzegorz Pojmanski of Warsaw University began the All Sky Automated Survey, which monitors stellar variability over large areas of the sky. The pilot project has already discovered 50,000 variable stars in the southern skies, as well as two comets. Dr. Paczynski died on April 19 at the age of 67. He is survived by his wife Hanna, a son, Martin, of Somerville, Mass., a daughter, Agnieszka, of Washington, and a grandchild.

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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 5, 2007