Newsletter No. 87, November 2005
  1. Notes from the Editor - Christine Jones
  2. Views from the HEAD Chair - Roger Blandford
  3. HEAD in the NEWS - Ilana Harrus, Christopher Wanjek and Megan Watzke
  4. Constellation-X Town Hall Meeting at AAS - January 9 2005
  5. Chandra X-ray Observatory Operations Report - Roger Brissenden (SAO) and Martin Weisskopf (MSFC)
  6. XMM-Newton Mission News - Stefan Immler and Phil Plait
  7. INTEGRAL Mission News - Christoph Winkler
  8. RHESSI Mission News - David Smith
  9. Swift Mission News - Christopher Wanjek, Phil Plait and Lynn Cominsky
  10. HETE Mission News - George Ricker
  11. RXTE News - Padi Boyd, Jean Swank, Craig Markwardt, Tod Strohmayer
  12. Suzaku Mission News - Richard Kelley for the Suzaku team
  13. GLAST Mission News - Christopher Wanjek, Phil Plait and Lynn Cominsky
  14. Meeting Announcements:




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

HEAD only delivers the table-of-contents for HEADNEWS into your mailbox. The newsletter itself can be found online at http://www.aas.org/head/headnews/headnews.nov05.html.

At the January AAS meeting, there will be special HEAD sessions on Very High Energy Astrophysics and Dark Energy, Stan Woosely will give the Rossi Prize Lecture on The Supernova Gamma-Ray Burst Connection on Wednesday January 11 4:30-5:20, and there will be a one-hour Constellation-X Town Hall Lunch Meeting, Monday January 9 (see newsletter item 4).

A reminder that the next HEAD DIVISION MEETING will be held in San Francisco from Wednesday October 4 through Saturday October 7, 2006. Please mark your calendars!

Nominations are being solicited for the upcoming HEAD elections for three new members of the HEAD Executive committee and a new Vice Chair. The nominating committee of Greg Madejski, Chryssa Kouveliotou, and Matthew Baring expects to have a slate of candidates by January 1, so please send them any suggestions as soon as possible. The election will be held in January.

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2. Views from the HEAD Chair - Roger Blandford

Much has happened since I took over from Josh Grindlay as chair of HEAD, nearly two years ago. Scientifically, it has been as exciting as ever. The successfully-launched Swift satellite was greeted, almost immediately, with a giant, magnetar explosion. Suzaku, despite the tragic loss of the XRS, is performing well and promises much. Great progress has been made on sorting out the mysteries of Gamma Ray Bursts using a flotilla of space- and ground-based telescopes. Chandra and XMM-Newton have been used to study supernova blast waves, white dwarf binaries with five minute periods and protostars. They have discovered fossil radio sources in clusters of galaxies and are being used to make quantitative, cosmological measurements with increased precision. High energy astrophysicists have helped elucidate the stellar content of our Galactic center with implications for all galactic nuclei. The discoveries of new classes of TeV sources by H.E.S.S., the early results from Auger and the promise of GLAST, Amanda, IceCube, NuSTAR, VERITAS, LIGO,and many more facilities remind us that there are largely unvisited gateways to the Universe waiting to be explored and discoveries to be made. There is much, much more in which the community can take pride. The scientific cases for moving forward with Constellation-X, LISA, JDEM, the Black Hole Finder and Inflation Probes have only strengthened since they were first selected out of a much larger suite of possible missions. We will hear all about this at the AAS, in Washington DC, where there will be special HEAD sessions on dark energy and TeV astronomy and a Rossi prize lecture by Stan Woosley.

However, there have also been more ominous developments over the past two years. The Vision for Space Exploration, announced in January 2004, augmented NASA's portfolio with a bold plan for human exploration of the Moon and Mars. At the same time, the Beyond Einstein, Explorer and R & A programs lost funding. Since then, the NASA leadership has turned over and the Vision has become more specific. Despite, a sincere promise to protect the science program, the price of return to flight of the shuttle and the International Space Station program coupled with political earmarks and the larger fiscal challenges faced by the federal government will stress the astrophysics budget for years to come. A further problem is that the costs of the astronomy missions proposed in the decadal survey, including those of most interest to HEAD members, have inflated considerably. I will leave it to others to quantify the true extent of these increases given full cost accounting and other unforeseen factors, but it is already likely that painful implementation choices will have to be made if we wish to have a stable and balanced space science program. Over the past two years, the HEAD membership has been quite active defending programs and process. I believe that in the future, there will be an additional need to face up to these choices and to forge even stronger links with the rest of the astronomical community, our international partners and colleagues in physics so as to increase the support base. Tough compromises in mission design will probably be necessary and more mid-career scientists will need to take on leadership roles in major missions. Many of these issues will also be discussed in Washington.

It remains for me to thank you, and especially the HEAD Executive Committee, for your support and advice over the past two years. Please keep sending your views, especially to my successor Steve Murray!

With every best wish for the holiday season,

Roger Blandford

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3. HEAD in the News - Ilana Harrus (HEAD Press Officer), Christopher Wanjek, (EUD Science Writer), and Megan Watzke, Chandra Press Officer

Major items in the News:

In terms of newspaper column inches per satellite mission cost, likely no satellite has earned more news coverage than Swift. Since the last HEAD newsletter, Swift has had several big stories. In May Swift detected for the first time the afterglow of a short gamma-ray burst. The Swift team speculated this was from a compact merger, a story covered by the AP, BBC and all the popular science magazines. By July Swift captured another short burst. This observation, combined with a HETE observation, was the subject of a Nature cover story and NASA press conference in October. This second merger announcement garnered widespread media attention, including a lengthy article in the New York Times front section.

Earlier, in September, Swift scored an even bigger hit with the detection of "the most distant explosion," a gamma-ray burst at redshift 6.29. This was covered by essentially every newspaper in the United States, including a lengthy page-three Washington Post article. There was radio and some television coverage as well, such as CNN, Voice of America and multiple NPR programs. Swift had a surprise news hit with the Deep Impact event. Swift was the first to report observations of comet Tempel 1, first in UV then in X-ray. A minor but respectable story for Swift in August was the detection of multiple bursting (in X ray) for many gamma-ray bursts, perhaps from a newly formed black hole sloppily gorging on material. The story was covered in the popular science magazines but also BBC and MSNBC. Since the last edition of the HEAD Newsletter, there have been six Chandra press releases and an additional seven new images (N132D, Trumpler 14, SN 1987A, 47 Tuc, Saturn's rings, multi-wavelength Cas A, Comet Tempel 1) disseminated to the press and public.

Chandra was mentioned extensively in association to events for which no press release was issued by the observatory among them 1) Return to Flight (as Eileen Collins was the commander for both the latest Shuttle mission as well as STS-93 that launched Chandra) and 2) Deep Impact (regularly mentioned along with Hubble, Spitzer and several other observatories as having an "eye" on the event).

One big Chandra story was also the most recent: a result, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, on a novel mode of star formation that happens closer to the black hole at the center of our galaxy than previously thought possible. This result was covered by the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Orlando Sentinel, and picked up by the wires (Associated Press, Reuters, United Press International, Agence France Press) to appear in the press across the nation (Ventura County Star, Buffalo News...) and worldwide (Canada, China, India...). Coverage was also noted on New Scientist, Voice of America, CBC News, Universe Today, ABC News, MSNBC.com, Innovations Report, Science Daily, Spotlighting News, All Headline News. Plus, 13 local affiliates (NBC, ABC, CBS) ran broadcast stories, as did Headline News (CNN).

ESA's press office put out a press release for an early XMM-Newton observation of comet Tempel 1 just after its rendezvous with Deep Impact. They beat the east coast news deadline and got into the New York Times as a result. The biggest XMM-Newton news story was the discovery that SN 1979C is as bright in X rays today as it was decades ago. The beautiful image of M100 alone was enough to get press. Space.Com wins the best headline award with "Shine On You Crazy Diamond." Another story (in the November Sky & Tel) was a follow-up to a big story from January: clocking matter racing around Markarian 766.

The big INTEGRAL story in the last six months was about the discovery (with Swift and RXTE helping) of a highly absorbed neutron star, dubbed the "shy" star because it took three satellites to see it. This was a minor hit in Europe with a four-minute piece on Swiss television, among other hits. Discovery of a fast-spinning binary X-ray pulsar (with RXTE) made USA Today and European papers. INTEGRAL is another potential news-maker if only press officers are made aware of results.

The successful launch of the Astro-E2, renamed Suzaku, by the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) was covered by the press from all around the world. The story got attention in the US because of the presence on-board of a NASA instrument, the coldest ever to fly in space, built to provide high-resolution spectroscopy. The syndicated story was covered by more than 100 newspapers from all around the world. In the US, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News, MSNBC, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicles, Miami Herald, and many more covered the story.

For more news on the Suzaku mission, read the "Missions updates" in this issue of the HEAD newsletter.

The Argentina-based Auger cosmic ray observatory generated a feature article now and then, particularly in June with the announcement of a second site planned for Colorado. The gamma-ray burst "compact merger" story was as much a HETE story as it was Swift. RXTE had a minor hit in July with the detection of oscillations from the giant December 2004 magnetar flare; the idea was that it is possible to do "star seismology." Three high-energy projects made Popular Science's list of top-ten "next big things" -- IceCube (3), LISA (6), and Constellation-X (10). This has been the international year of Albert Einstein. Both the genius himself and the NASA Beyond Einstein program (with LISA and Constellation-X) have been featured in many magazine and newspaper stories, including an eight-page feature on Beyond Einstein in the October issue of Astronomy. Also, high-energy astronomy is the subject of every Armchair Astrophysics column in Mercury magazine (and there is a very good reason for this...).

We also note:

Science Daily (October 17, 2005): With only about two months delay, report of the first light from XIS on-board Suzaku http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051017065510.htm

Cern Courier (October 2005): Article (AstroWatch) on SWIFT and some of its discoveries, focusing on GRB050502B, a burst that had an post-GRB X-ray flare releasing as much energy as the burst itself.

Newark Star Ledger, Space Daily, UPI, PhysOrg.com, Innovations Report, Science Daily, RedNova.com, Universe Today, Spaceflight Now, Monsters and Critics.com (September 22, 2005): A Chandra study of the Tycho SNR that supports evidence for shock acceleration of cosmic rays - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050923075505.htm http://www.physorg.com/news6703.html; http://spacenews.dancebeat.info/article.php/chandra_tycho_supernova_cosmic_; http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/chandra_tycho_remnant.htm

PhysOrg.com (September 15, 2005): Article on the INTEGRAL view of the Galactic Center - http://www.physorg.com/news6511.html

Pittsburgh Post Gazette (September 5, 2005): Optical follow-up with SALT of clusters of galaxies discovered by XMM-Newton. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05248/565761.stm

PhysOrg.com (August 31, 2005): XMM-Newton analysis of RXCJ0658.5-5556 - http://www.physorg.com/news6148.html

NewScientist.com (August 10, 2005): Short GRB with SWIFT and HETE-II - http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7825

Natural History Magazine, Yahoo News, Spaceflight Now, Innovations Report, RedNova.com, YubaNet, Science Daily, Universe Today, Science Daily, PhysOrg.com (July 27, 2005): Chandra's survey of nearby stars solves the neon solar paradox. - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050729064146.htm; http://spacenews.dancebeat.info/article.php/chandra_neon_discovery_solar_paradox

PhysOrg.com, Universe Today (July 21, 2005) & Scientific American (July 25, 2005): A view of SN1979C, the supernova that just won't fade away, by XMM-Newton - http://www.physorg.com/news5342.html http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/old_supernova_in_M100_galaxy.html?2172005 http://www.sciam.com/includes/gallery_pop.cfm?file=000B48AD-3D23-12E1-BC1883414B7FFDBE

Universe Today (July 20, 2005): Report on Chandra observation of 47 Tuc http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/origin_of_millisecond_pulsars_47tucw.html?2072005

BBC news (July 11, 2005): The Beebs finally catches up with the report on the collision between the Deep Impact probe and Tempel 1. Report on the XMM-Newton observation http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4672157.stm

San Jose Mercury News (July 9, 2005): Summary of observations of the comet Tempel 1 by all the satellites (XMM-Newton, SWIFT, ..) .

Los Angeles Daily News, San Luis Obispo Tribune, Pasadena Star-News (July 6, 2005): Report of the probe collision with comet Tempel 1 as viewed by SWIFT. http://www.dailynews.com/Stories/0,1413,200~20954~2952618,00.html; http://www.sanluisobispo.com/mld/sanluisobispo/news/nation/12061759.htm; http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/Stories/0,1413,206~24533~2952349,00.html

New Scientist (July 5, 2005): Announcement of the upcoming Astro-E2 mission and the coldest space instrument set to orbit. http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7633

PhysOrg.com, SpaceRef.com, (July 4, 2005) & San Francisco Chronicles (July 5, 2005): First report of the collision as viewed by XMM-Newton (ESA beat NASA OPA in this case...). -- http://www.physorg.com/news4920.html; http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/07/05/COMET.TMP

PhysOrg.com, KWTX (July 3, 2005): Successful release of the probe on a collision course with comet Tempel 1. http://www.physorg.com/news4910.html

Register (UK), National Geographic, Xinhua (July 1, 2005): Announcement of the upcoming Deep Impact mission and the surveillance by most of the observatories in orbit. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/07/01/rosetta_snaps_tempel/

SpaceRef.com (June 14, 2005): Article on the winners of the Astro-E2 competition organized by the EPO group at GSFC http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=17120

Universe Today(June 8, 2005): Article on detection SN 1970G using Chandra http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/afterlife_supernova.html?862005

Universe Today(June 2, 2005), Monsters & Critics (Science): Article on GRB 050509b detected by Swift. http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/neutron_star_collision.html?262005; http://science.monstersandcritics.com/news/article_1003908.php/Astronomers_hot_on_the_trail_of_nature%60s_exotic_flashers

Cern Courier (June 2005): Article (AstroWatch) on the giant GRB of December 27. 2004

Physorg.com (May 31, 2005): Article an X-ray flash detected by SWIFT and HETE-2 -- http://www.physorg.com/news4325.html; http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2005/05/31_shortburst.shtml

Science Now, Space.com, Lincoln Tribune, CBC Manitoba, Sci-Tech Today, YubaNet, SciScoop, & Universe Today (May 30, 2005): Chandra studies of J0806.3+1527. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050601083723.htm http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=16974

Innovations Reports, PhysOrg.com, & EurekAlert (May 30, 2005): Chandra observation of NGC 40 -- http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-05/riot-afn052005.php

Science Magazine (May 27, 2005): Article by Schramm award winner Robert Irion, on a result from the Chandra Orion Ultradeep Project (COUP) http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/308/5726/1249

Space.com, SpaceFlightNow.com, Universe Today, Hindustan Times, India Daily, Monsters & Critics (Science), Indolink (May 25, 2005): Article on a study on Chandra's detection for X-rays from Saturn. http://www.indolink.com/displayArticleS.php?id=053005114352

National Geographic (May 24, 2005): Article on black holes with mention of RXTE, Chandra and NuStar http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/05/0524_050524_blackholes.html

Cern Courier (May 2005): Long Article on IceCube experiment and Neutrino telescopes

Cern Courier (May 2005): Article (AstroWatch) on HESS sources

List of the press/image releases linked to HEAD

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

October 14, 2005 http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2005/xmm_supernova.html http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2005/integral_shy_star.html

October 13, 2005 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_101305.html http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2005/05-166.html

October 5, 2005 http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Fox10-2005.htm http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_100505.html http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2005/10/05_hurley.shtml

October 4, 2005 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_100405.html

September 28. 2005 http://www.ucsc.edu/news_events/press_releases/text.asp?pid=756

September 22, 2005 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_092205.html; http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2005/05-154.html; http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/press/pr0531.html

September 13, 2005 http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2005/sburst05_pressrelease.html

September 12, 2005 http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/SwiftDistantExplosion9-2005.htm http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2005/lindsay_award.html http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2005/bahcall_passing.html; ; http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/05/050912.swift.shtml

August 31, 2005 http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Townsley8-2005.htm; http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/suzaku_firstlight.html

August 23, 2005 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_082305.html

August 19, 2005 http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2005/05-140.html

August 18, 2005 http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Burrows8-2005.htm; http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2005/05-139.html

July 27, 2005 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_072705.html

July 21, 2005 http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEME2C0DU8E_index_0.html

July 13, 2005 http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2005/astroe2-has-launched.html; http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Integral/SEMSOI6DIAE_0.html

July 8. 2005 http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Swift-Deep-Impact.htm

July 4, 2005 http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Swift-Deep-Impact.htm#4July

June 30, 2005 http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/astro-e2_launch.html; http://universe.nasa.gov/press/2005/050630a.html

June 14, 2005 http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/astro-e2.html

June 9, 2005 http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/girlscout_supernova.html

June 6, 2005 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_060605.html

May 31, 2005 http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2005/05/31_shortburst.shtml; http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2005/05/31_galex.shtml; http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2005/05-078.html; http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/05/050531.swift.shtml

May 30, 2005 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_053005.html

May 25, 2005 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_052505.html; http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2005/05-074.html

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

4. Constellation-X Town Hall Meeting at AAS, Monday Jan 9 2005

This one-hour town hall session during lunch on Monday at the January AAS meeting will update the community on the Constellation-X (Con-X) mission. In parallel will be a poster session with over 30 posters one the science goals and technologies of Con-X.

With more than 100 times the collecting area of any previous spectroscopic mission operating in the 0.25-40 keV bandpass, Con-X will enable high-throughput, high spectral resolution studies of sources ranging from the most luminous accreting supermassive black holes in the Universe to the disks around young stars where planets form. Con-X is a key part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate Beyond Einstein space science program. This mission was ranked first after JWST among large space missions in the US National Academy of Sciences McKee-Taylor & Turner Committee reports (Decadal Survey). For more information, AAS members are encouraged to visit the Con-X website, constellation.gsfc.nasa.gov

This town hall meeting will include presentations on the significant programmatic and technical advances that been made recently. Time will be allowed for discussion with the audience. The session will be chaired by Harvey Tananbaum, Con-X Facility Science Team chair. Presenting on behalf of the Con-X Project, Facility Science Team, and Facility Science Team Panels will be:

Mission Update & Status, by Nicholas White, Con-X Project Scientist

This will include a brief update on the Beyond Einstein program and Con-X's role as a flagship mission. The baseline configuration for Constellation-X is a set of four telescopes working in unison to achieve a large collecting area. This configuration is ready to enter phase A and will be briefly described.

Technology Update: Recent Advances on Optics & Detectors by Michael Garcia (Science Lead) and Jay Bookbinder (Mission Scientist)

Substantial progress has been made on the SXT and HXT mirrors. Individual SXT reflectors have been made which meet the 10'' half-power diameter (HPD) requirement. The system error budget has been reevaluated to look for improvements, and work on further improving the reflectors towards the system goal of 5'' HPD is continuing. Individual Hard X-ray Telescope (10-40 keV) mirrors which are close to meeting the 30'' HPD goal have been made. Progress on the X-ray calorimeter, the gratings, CCD readouts, and and the hard X-ray CdZnTe detectors has also been significant and will be briefly described. This includes an update on the extensive work on a possible off-plane grating configuration which may offer some new advantages.

Update to the Constellation-X Science Case by Ann Hornschemeier (Deputy Project Scientist) & Michael Garcia (Science Lead)

During late 2004 and early 2005, a large team of astrophysicists worked to produce an update to the Constellation-X science case. The result is a 45-page booklet, outlining the important scientific questions for the decade following this one and describes the areas where Con-X is going to have a major impact. This presentation provides highlights from the updated science case, including the exploration of the space-time geometry of black holes spanning nine orders of magnitude in mass and the nature of the dark energy and dark matter which govern the expansion and ultimate fate of the Universe. Con-X will also explore processes referred to as "cosmic feedback" whereby mechanical energy, radiation, and chemical elements from star formation and black holes are returned to interstellar and intergalactic medium. Con-X will also probe all the important life cycles of matter, from stellar and planetary birth to stellar death via supernova to stellar endpoints in the form of accreting binaries and supernova remnants.

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5. Chandra X-ray Observatory Operations Report - Roger Brissenden (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory) and Martin Weisskopf (Marshall Space Flight Center)

Chandra passed its 6th year of operations in July with continued excellent spacecraft and science instrument performance. As we enter the the sixth year of the mission, Chandra continues without major anomalies and maintains significant long-term reserves of consumables.

Operations highlights: Chandra completed the 2005 summer eclipse season in July and a lunar eclipse in October with nominal power and thermal performance, and had uneventful passages through the Perseid and Draconid meteor showers in August and October. A flight software patch was uplinked in June to to prepare for the use of HRC as a radiation detector in place of the EPHIN detector. The lifetime of the EPHIN is limited by temperature and it is beginning to exceed its limits as thermal insulation degrades. A second software patch was uplinked in June to modify the onboard radiation safing software to improve the spacecraft safing response in light of new thermal constraints for observations at high pitch angles. Measurements of the aspect camera's dark current show a nominal trend of increase in the number of warm pixels but the performance continues to be excellent.

There have been no major anomalies in the last six months and Chandra has now gone for 5.8 years without a safe mode. A unexpected radiation safing event was experienced in August that was traced to a low-probability code condition involving the reading of a stale data frame. As a result of the event, the low energy grating was left in a partially inserted state and was retracted to its stowed position through real-time commanding. An operational work-around has been implemented to mitigate future occurrences of the such a condition.

The observing schedule was interrupted 4 times in the last six months due to high solar activity, which contributed to an overall observing efficiency of 61%, compared with the maximum possible efficiency of ~70%. Thermal constraints limiting the duration that Chandra can spend at certain pitch angles to the Sun contributed approximately 3% of the reduction in efficiency. The schedule was also re-planned 4 times to accommodate fast turn-around Target of Opportunity (TOO) observations, with response times ranging from 1-3 days.

Both the ACIS and HRC focal plane instruments have continued to operate well overall. ACIS experienced a threshold crossing plane latch-up that was cleared using A standard procedure. The ACIS Digital Electronics Processor also turned off unexpectedly in an event similar to two cases earlier in the mission related to the Digital Processing Electronics, and is thought to have been caused by a single event upset induced by charged particles. the decision was made to defer consideration of a bakeout of ACIS to remove contaminant believed to be present on the ACIS Optical Blocking Filter as the potential for worsening the situation might exceed the chance of removing the contaminant.

The processing, archiving and distribution of Chandra data has continued without issue, and the average time from target observation to distribution of data has been reduced from about 3 days to approximately 1 day. The archive continues to grow at ~0.5 TB per year, with data retrievals remaining at ~200 to ~400 GB per month.

The Operations Control Center (OCC) ground team has completed their work on testing the port of the ground system from the Silicon Graphics to Linux operating systems and is planning on transitioning to operations with the new system at the end of November. An Operations Readiness Review will be held on November 17 and will provide the approval needed to proceed. The OCC underwent an interface change in July when the prime data interface to the Deep Space Network at JPL migrated from a link through Goddard Space Flight Center to a direct network link to JPL.

The Science Data System team released version 7.6 of the CXC Data System in support of the Cycle 7 peer review and CIAO 3.3.2 in June, and a number of releases of the data system in support of the upcoming re-processing of all Chandra data.

The Chandra Press Office released 11 press releases and 6 image releases during the last 6 months, including a NASA media telecon in October that described a novel mode of star formation associated with Sgr-A*.

The Cycle 7 peer review was held in Boston during June 21-23 and the cost review is now nearing completion. Award letters are expected to be sent in November. Following discussion with the Chandra User Committee, we have decided to provide the option of a two year period of performance to all grant holders (at present this option is available only for grants over $100,000). The Cycle 8 Call for Proposals is planned for mid-December. Other recent activities include a workshop on Star Formation held in July, the 4th X-ray astronomy school held in Cambridge in August, the Chandra Fellows Symposium and Chandra User Committee meeting held in October, and the annual Calibration workshop held in conjunction with the 6-year Symposium in November.

As we write, the Six Years of Science with Chandra symposium is underway here in Boston with a stunning array of papers, posters and science results highlighting the mission's success so far.

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

With approximately 5,000 scientific observations performed and a thousand publications in refereed articles published to date, XMM-Newton continues to be an outstanding X-ray observatory. Apart from the loss of MOS1 CCD6 in March 2005, likely caused by a micro-meteoroid impact scattering debris into the focal plane, all instruments are in good health status.

The release of the Science Analysis System (SAS) 6.5 in August 2005 incorporated several EPIC calibration upgrades and an improved cross-calibration between all EPIC instruments. The possibility of combining RGS spectra and response matrices has been added; the source detection for both the EPIC and OM were revised, especially related to extended sources and to the presence of stray-light artifacts in OM images; and several metatasks for the EPIC instruments were upgraded.

In July 2005, the online XMM-Newton Science Archive (XSA) was upgraded to version 2.8 and several improvements were made and new facilities added. The XMM-Newton AO5 call for observing proposals was closed on October 14, 2005. We received about 620 proposals. The strong interest of the community in XMM-Newton and the high quality of the data and results was demonstrated during the "X-Ray Universe 2005" symposium, hosted by ESA in El Escorial, Spain, from September 26-30, 2005. Approximately 150 invited, review and contributed talks were given, and more than 200 posters were presented at this well-attended meeting.

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 EPO

The Creative Laboratory Explorations in Astronomy (CLEA) exercise "Dying Stars and the Birth of the Elements" is currently undergoing testing by the external reviewers, and we expect the results in early November. We will incorporate the review into a final version of the exercise which will then be ready for distribution. The exercise is available online at http://xmm.sonoma.edu/edu/clea/index.html for review.

The Supernova Educator Unit, being produced in conjunction with GLAST E/PO) is nearing completion of the alpha version. All three activities have been written and are in the editing process. The poster is being laid out, and features an optical, X-ray, and gamma-ray view of a supernova remnant (SNR), with a brief discussion of the physics and processes behind them. An illustrated timeline of the evolution of an SNR wraps around the poster as well. The back of the poster will have more details about the different views on the front, the timeline, and a description of why stars explode. We expect the alpha version of the unit to be ready for testing by December. We have made 2500 foam "Earth balls" which will be used to demonstrate magnetic fields in pulsars as part of the Supernova Educator Unit as well. A neodymium ("rare-earth") magnetic can be placed inside the ball to mimic a pulsar. These will be used at local and national educator conferences and distributed to participants. More information about these materials is located at http://xmm.sonoma.edu/materials.html

We are developing a sky show and series of activities to be used in portable planetaria. The show will compare and contrast the sky as seen in optical and X-rays, and the activities will introduce young (grades 5-10) students to X-ray astronomy. This show was originally designed to be used with the Learning Technologies Inc. (LTI) "StarLab", an analog planetarium. However, we are investigating making the show digital. This will greatly expand the audience, since digital portable planetaria are gaining ground over analog facilities. This will also allow us to use images of selected objects to compare in optical and X-rays, as well as use animations. The original, analog show is in the testing phase, and has been submitted to LTI for evaluation. The conversion process to digital is under analysis. The activities and educators guide have been written.

During FY05, XMM-Newton Educator Ambassadors and E/PO professionals disseminated educational materials and XMM-Newton content through 18 different workshops, lectures and/or conferences. These presentations reached over 2830 participants directly and over 5400 indirectly.

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7. INTEGRAL News - Christoph Winkler

The second of ESA's medium-sized missions within the "Horizon 2000" programme, INTEGRAL was launched from Baikonur cosmodrome on 17 October 2002. Operations were initially approved for a period of 2.2 years, which was later extended. This ESA-led mission includes contributions from Russia (Proton launcher) and NASA (Goldstone ground station). The mission is successfully delivering medium- to high-spatial and spectral resolution observations in the 15 keV to 10 MeV energy range, as well as providing simultaneous X-ray (3-35 keV) and V-band optical monitoring. The performance is much as predicted before launch and compares very favourably with previous missions.

The majority of INTEGRAL observing time is available to the general astronomical community via calls for proposals (AO). The fourth call (AO-4) is scheduled for release on 13 March 2006 with a proposal submission deadline of 21 April 2006. The AO-4 observing cycle (12 months) will commence on 17 August 2006.

Between December 2002 and September 2005 INTEGRAL results have been reported in 120 refereed and 290 non-refereed publications. A selection of recent scientific highlights includes:

The galactic centre

The galactic centre region is one of the prime targets for INTEGRAL since it harbours many compact objects, sources of diffuse emission as well as a three million solar mass black hole, which is surprisingly weak at high energies.

The centre of our Galaxy was observed with the INTEGRAL imager (IBIS/ISGRI) in the energy range above 20 keV. A new source coincident with the galactic nucleus Sgr A* (believed to be the counterpart of the massive black hole) to within 0.9 arc minutes was detected at energies up to 120 keV. The 20-120 keV luminosity is only 5e35 erg s-1, approximately 8 orders of magnitude lower than expected from a maximally accreting black hole of this mass. Contemporaneous XMM-Newton and INTEGRAL observations did not detect any significant variability. This new INTEGRAL source is the first report of persistent hard X-ray emission from within the central 10 arc minutes of the Galaxy and there is a distinct possibility that we are seeing hard X-ray emission from the massive black hole at the centre of our Galaxy for the first time. These measurements are providing new insights into the broadband spectra of massive, weakly accreting, black holes.

Is it possible that Sgr A* was much brighter in the past? This hypothesis has been tested using scattering of past X-rays by molecular clouds. INTEGRAL observations of the molecular cloud Sgr B2 revealed for the first time this source at energies above 20 keV. The observed hard X-ray continuum, a hard power-law with a photon index of 1.8, together with a cut-off at energies above 100 keV and a strong fluorescence line at 6.4 keV, as observed by ASCA, were used to model the input spectrum of Sgr A* which is then similar to a low luminosity active galactic nucleus (AGN). It was concluded that about 350 years ago (corresponding to the light travel time between Sgr A* and Sgr B2) Sgr A* was about 10,000 times more luminous than it is today. This conclusion is supported by the observation that the 6.4 keV line has remained stable over the last 10 years, excluding any close stellar transient X-ray binary as the illuminating source.

Diffuse Gamma-ray line emission

The galactic centre is also a region where the annihilation of electrons with their anti-matter equivalents, positrons, takes place. This annihilation produces a Gamma-ray line with an energy of 511 keV through direct annihilation and continuum emission at lower energies following the formation and decay of positronium. INTEGRAL's spectrometer (SPI) has provided the first all-sky map of the 511 keV emission. The sky distribution is very smooth and almost symmetrical (with a full width at half maximum (FWHM) of 8 deg) and centred on the galactic centre itself. There is only a very weak disk component present which can be explained by the decay of radioactive 44Ti and 26Al. The luminosity ratio between the bulge and disk - derived from the annihilation rates - is between 3 and 9 and imposes very severe constraints on the sources of the positrons. Surprisingly, the 511 keV line sky distribution cannot be reconciled with that of any of the likely sources of the positrons such as the winds of massive stars, type Ia supernovae, cosmic rays interacting with the interstellar medium (ISM) or the regions around black holes or neutron stars. One intriguing possibility, consistent with the INTEGRAL results, is that the emission is produced following the annihilation of an exotic form of Dark Matter. The earlier CGRO/OSSE observations of a high latitude enhancement to the 511 keV distribution, tentatively attributed to a (local?) 'fountain' of anti-matter can be clearly excluded.

Deep observations of the galactic centre region have also provided a high quality spectrum around the 511 keV line. The line profile provides stringent constraints on the physical environment of the annihilation region in the interstellar medium. The observed line is un-shifted with an energy of 510.954 +/- 0.075 keV and a FWHM of 2.37 +/- 0.25 keV. The line parameters are consistent with annihilation in a warm (8000 K), mildly ionized, single-phase, ISM. Future observations are expected to concentrate on understanding better the weak galactic plane component and on determining the spatial distribution of the ISM properties so constraining the distribution of the positron sources and positron transport in the Galaxy.

Photons from the radioactive decay of 26Al (1808.65 keV) are a key tracer for star formation as 26Al is produced during nucleosynthesis in massive stars. The line has been observed by INTEGRAL at high significance in the inner Galaxy. For the first time, spatially-resolved spectroscopy at sub-keV precision could be performed, and showed small energy shifts consistent with Galactic rotation. This demonstrates the inner-Galaxy origin for the 26Al emission. Galaxy-wide interpretation of the measured gamma-ray intensity thus yields the total amount of 26Al in the Galaxy. Using current massive-star nucleosynthesis models, this measurement represents an independent estimate of the Galactic core collapse supernova rate. Another region of interest is the Cygnus region, an area of very active star formation. There, the 26Al line is moderately broadened (with a FWHM of 3.3 keV corresponding to a velocity of 550 km s-1), and much broader than in the inner Galaxy (1.2 keV FWHM), which reflects the kinematics of the star forming region in the 26Al ejecta. Future studies are expected to concentrate on detailed mapping of the 26Al "hot spots" and refining the distances to the sources of the emission by measuring the Doppler shifts due to galactic rotation.

Recently, line emission from the decay of 60Fe has been detected by INTEGRAL. 60Fe is another product of nucleosynthesis during the end-points of stellar life. The fluxes are (3.7 +/- 1.1) 10-5 photons cm-2 s-1 for lines at 1.17 and 1.33 MeV. Current nucleosynthesis models for massive stars predict that copious amounts of 60Fe are produced so that the expected line flux ratio from 60Fe and 26Al should be larger than Fe/Al ~ 0.4. The value measured by INTEGRAL of 0.11 +/- 0.03 is however inconsistent with the expected value. This implies that core collapse supernovae may not be the dominant sources of galactic 26Al and other sources prior to collapse (such as winds from Wolf-Rayet stars) may play a role. This is a key question to be addressed by future INTEGRAL mapping which will hopefully discriminate between the source populations responsible for the production of the 26Al and 60Fe.

Diffuse Galactic Continuum Emission

INTEGRAL has solved a key problem concerning the contribution of discrete point sources to the galactic diffuse soft Gamma-ray background. Before INTEGRAL, it was difficult to separate point sources and the diffuse component at hard X-ray energies. Previous observations by Sigma and CGRO/OSSE showed that around 50% of the 50-500 keV galactic emission originated from point sources. It was then difficult to assign the remaining 50% to soft Gamma-ray diffuse emission processes such as inverse Compton scattering or bremsstrahlung. The inverse Compton scattering of GeV cosmic ray electrons would - due to the large number of electrons required - produce radio-synchrotron emission at a much higher level than observed. Bremsstrahlung of few 100 keV electrons in the interstellar medium would require a total cosmic-ray luminosity of ~1043 erg s-1, which is comparable to the total cosmic-ray luminosity of the Galaxy. Such an intense flux would affect the interstellar medium ionisation equilibrium and give rise to an excessive dissociation of the interstellar molecules.

With its superior ability to see faint and fine details, INTEGRAL revealed that individual sources comprise most of the (10-200) keV soft Gamma-ray background that was seen by previous observatories. The brightest 91 objects identified by INTEGRAL as individual sources almost entirely account for the diffuse emission observed by previous instruments leaving only a minor role for the continuum processes described above.

Galactic Compact sources

The discovery by INTEGRAL of a new class of highly absorbed X-ray binary sources which had escaped detection by other missions at lower energies was unexpected. These objects are characterized by very hard spectra at high energies and strong photoelectric absorption, most likely caused by the stellar wind and accreting material from the companion star below a few keV. From spectroscopic observations these objects are most probably high-mass X-ray binaries, many of which are located in the Scutum and Norma spiral arms.

Another surprise was the detection by INTEGRAL of very hard emission from anomalous X-ray pulsars (AXPs). Before INTEGRAL, these systems were known to be young pulsars with soft spectra and very strong magnetic fields of order 1015 G. INTEGRAL showed for the first time that AXP spectra are surprisingly hard at energies above 10-20 keV. The hard spectra most probably indicate a magnetospheric origin, i.e. they are not powered by the spin-down mechanism. In order to be consistent with higher energy observations by CGRO, these spectra must show a break, or bend, at higher energies, to be detected by INTEGRAL in future observations.

The high-energy sky is highly variable and many sources show a strong transient behaviour. INTEGRAL has performed 24 "Target of Opportunity" observations so far. A key discovery was the detection of IGR J00291+5934, the fastest known accreting millisecond pulsar with a spin period of only 1.67 ms. This pulsar may provide the missing link between radio pulsars (with spin period of seconds) and the isolated, much more rapidly spinning, millisecond radio pulsars which are believed to be spun-up by mass accretion. For IGR J00291+5934, INTEGRAL showed for the first time that pulsed emission exists up to high energies (~150 keV). The high-energy spectrum can be modelled by thermal Comptonisation in a 40 keV plasma, where the seed photons originate from the polar cap, consistent with the observation of a sinusoidal modulation at high energies. Moreover, the INTEGRAL results reveal for the first time that the pulsed spectrum becomes very hard at high energies and the ratio of the pulsed to total flux also increases with energy, which may result from relativistic Doppler boosting.

Active galactic nuclei

AGN are important targets for INTEGRAL and of the 209 sources in the second IBIS soft Gamma-ray catalogue, 33 are extragalactic. The inner regions of AGN consist of a supermassive black hole surrounded by accreting matter. Using INTEGRAL and XMM-Newton, more evidence has been found that supermassive black holes are surrounded by a doughnut-shaped gas cloud, or torus. Depending on our line of sight, the torus can block the view to the black hole in the centre. Looking "edge on" into this doughnut for NGC 4388, it is possible to see features never before revealed with such clarity. For example, some of the Gamma-rays produced close to the black hole are absorbed by iron atoms in the torus and are re-emitted at a lower energy, proof of seeing "reprocessed" light farther out. Also, because of the line of sight towards NGC 4388, we know this iron is in the torus in the same plane as the accretion disk, and not from gas clouds "above" or "below" the accretion disk.

Gamma-ray bursts

INTEGRAL observes about one Gamma-ray burst (GRB) each month as a serendipitous source in the large field of view. An automatic software system on-ground detects the GRB within seconds and automatically alerts the world-wide science community, allowing crucial follow-up observations at other wavelength. Due to this service, a GRB which occurred on 3 December 2003 has been thoroughly studied by INTEGRAL and an armada of space and ground-based observatories. It has been concluded that this event, GRB 031203, is the closest cosmic Gamma-ray burst on record, but also the faintest. This important detection suggests that a large population of sub-energetic Gamma-ray bursts exists that has so far gone unnoticed, prior to INTEGRAL.

6th INTEGRAL workshop

Preparations have begun to organize the 6th INTEGRAL workshop `The Obscured Universe' which will take place from 2 - 8 July 2006 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The workshop will be associated with the the XIth Marcel Grossmann meeting ( http://www.icra.it/MG/mg11). It is planned, that the Marcel Grossmann meeting and INTEGRAL workshop will have a joint opening session in Tavricheskiy Palace, two joint scientific sessions, a common broad cultural programme and a common conference dinner. The workshop is being jointly co-sponsored by ESA and IKI.

Information on workshop registration and hotel booking, instructions for authors and kits for the preparation of abstracts (including examples) will be made available in due time via the Local Organizing Committee http://hea.iki.rssi.ru/integral06

The deadline for receipt of abstracts is 01 March 2006

The scientific programme will cover:

  • X-ray binaries (IGR sources, black-hole candidates, neutron stars)
  • Isolated neutron stars, pulsars, physics of compact objects
  • Nucleosynthesis (supernovae and supernova remnants, gamma-ray line emission)
  • Surveys and extragalactic sources, unidentified sources
  • Gamma-ray bursts and soft gamma-repeaters
  • INTEGRAL status and instrument overviews (invited talks only)
  • Science data processing and analysis (posters only)
  • Future instruments and missions (posters only)
  • The second circular will be available in January 2006.

    INTEGRAL Spacecraft and instrument status

    The overall mission status is very satisfactory. At the current rate of use, the on-board fuel is sufficient for more than 15 years. No unexpected degradation in the solar array or battery performance is evident and there has been no loss of redundancy of any spacecraft system. There is sufficient power margin to allow operations through a large range of Sun angles (~40 deg) for the foreseeable future allowing for flexible scheduling. The pointing stability and slewing accuracy comfortably exceed requirements.

    The instruments are performing well with only minor anomalies. The spectrometer, SPI, experienced detector failures in 2003 December and 2004 July. Operations with the remaining 17 (from the original 19) detectors results in, to first order, a 10% reduction in observing efficiency. At first of these failures were thought to be linked to the annealing procedure -- the regular thermal cycling of the SPI -- -- detectors which is necessary to mitigate the effects of radiation damage and maintain the outstanding (1 part in 500) energy resolution. However, intensive ground investigations failed to establish a clear link and two subsequent annealing cycles have been performed without further loss, so the cause of the failures remains uncertain. In addition, one of the 91 sets of redundant read-out chains of SPI's anti-coincidence system failed in August 2003, but the remaining part of the redundant chain provides full functionality. Finally, only one of the two identical X-ray monitor units is routinely operated to reduce the effects of aging and enable the instrument to achieve its science goals for at least another 5 years.

    In-flight the INTEGRAL payload provides a positional accuracy approximately twice that of Sigma/Granat, the Gamma-ray instrument with the best positional accuracy flown previously. However, the continuum sensitivity is more than an order of magnitude better than that of Sigma, opening up whole new areas of scientific investigation. Whilst the INTEGRAL continuum sensitivity is comparable to those of the instruments on CGRO, INTEGRAL has significantly better spatial resolution with the obvious scientific benefits that this brings. The only mission with comparable spectral resolution than INTEGRAL was the non-imaging instrument on HEAO-3 which had a correspondingly much (factor ~100) lower sensitivity. The INTEGRAL narrow line sensitivity is around a factor 2 to 4 (depending on energy) less than stated in the first call for proposals (published in 2001) due to the induced background being higher than predicted. This sensitivity is still comparable to that achieved with CGRO, which had much lower spectral and spatial resolutions. The Hard X-ray Detector on the recently launched Suzaku mission covers a lower energy range than the main INTEGRAL instruments with a factor 3 (pre-launch) better sensitivity, but without any imaging capabilities. The Burst Alert Telescope on the NASA Swift mission uses similar technology as the INTEGRAL imager to provide a factor 2 better survey sensitivity (due to a larger field of view) than the INTEGRAL imager, but with a factor 3 less sensitivity for individual sources.

    In summary, the combination of INTEGRAL's excellent spacecraft and instruments provide a unique combination of outstanding line sensitivity, spectral resolution, and imaging capability to give an unprecedented capability in Gamma-ray astronomy.

    Ground segment status

    INTEGRAL operations are carried out at the Mission Operations Centre (MOC) at ESOC, Germany, the Science Operations Centre (ISOC) at ESAC, Spain, and the Science Data Centre (ISDC), in Versoix, Switzerland. For most of the 72-hour orbit, INTEGRAL uses the ESA provided Redu ground station in Belgium, supplemented by the NASA provided Goldstone station, when necessary due to visibility considerations. The instrument teams play a major role in the overall ground segment, being responsible for instrument on-board software maintenance and for providing instrument specific software and calibration updates to the ISDC for integration into the overall software system and distribution to the community.

    The ISDC developed pipeline processing provides scientific data products which are routinely distributed to observers within 8 weeks of their observation. These products are also used to populate the on-line INTEGRAL scientific archive and are made public one year after receipt of the data by the observer. Off-line scientific analysis software (OSA) and support is also provided by the ISDC to observers who wish to perform their own, more extensive, data reduction. Recently, version 5 of the OSA has been made available with much improved capabilities and features. ISOC has opened the ESA public archive of INTEGRAL data in July.

    Mission extension

    Initially planned to operate nominally for 26 months after launch (i.e. until Dec 2004), INTEGRAL is now in the extended mission phase. A further two years extension until 2008 (and earmarking the estimated costs for another two years until 2010) has recently been recommended by ESA's scientific advisory committees to be approved by ESA's Science Programme Committee in November 2005.

    Up-to-date information on the mission including long-and short-term observing schedules can be found at http://integral.esac.esa.int

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

    The Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) continues healthy. Radiation damage continues to degrade the germanium detectors for purposes of gamma-ray line spectroscopy (narrow-line sensitivity at 2.2 MeV is about half what it was at launch), but the hard x-ray response to solar flares remains excellent. Annealing the detectors to repair most of the damage will take place when one or more detectors no longer work well in hard x-rays, probably some time in 2006.

    Readers interested in recent RHESSI solar results are encouraged to look in the Solar Physics E-Print Archive run by Richard Canfield and Alisdair Davey at Montana State University ( http://solar.physics.montana.edu/cgi-bin/eprint/default_page.pl). Some of the most exciting recent results come from combining RHESSI hard x-ray movies with observations made at other wavelengths to view the changes in the low-coronal magnetic field due to reconnection during a flare. For two good examples, see the preprints by Veronig et al., "X-ray sources and magnetic reconnection in the X3.9 flare of 2003 November 3" (accepted by Astronomy and Astrophysics) and by Sui, Holman, and Dennis, "Observation of Loop Connectivity Change in a Solar Flare Triggered by Loop-Loop Interaction" (submitted to The Astrophysical Journal).

    There will be a workshop dedicated to RHESSI-inspired solar science at Meudon Observatory outside Paris, April 5-8, 2006. Feel free to contact David Smith (dsmith (at) scipp.ucsc.edu) for more information as the workshop approaches.

    In June 2005, rather than visiting the Crab Nebula in our annual short Summer vacation from the Sun, we were fortunate to catch the major outburst of the transient x-ray pulsar A0535+26. The outburst was discovered by Swift/BAT (J. Tueller et al. 2005, ATEL 504). Most of the outburst took place with the Sun so close to the pulsar that only RHESSI, of all the x-ray missions, was able to take data (ATEL 557). Papers on spectroscopy and variability analysis of this multi-Crab, once-in-a-decade outburst are in preparation. Imaging analysis of the Crab data from previous years is still in progress, and we intend to resume the annual Crab pointing next year.

    RHESSI continues to study the Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes originally detected by BATSE on CGRO, and the data are now being used by many groups internationally. The rapid progress in this field will be summarized by presentations in the Fall AGU meeting in San Francisco in December in a set of three special sessions on Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes, Relativistic Runaway Breakdown, and Related Phenomena.

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    9. Swift Mission News - Padi Boyd and Phil Plait

    Swift, launched on November 20, 2004, is nearing the end of an impressive first year, filled with record burst discoveries and important coordinated observations and targets of opportunity on objects as broad-ranging as a comet, galactic transients, and supernovae in nearby galaxies.

    Since commencing normal operations on April 5, 2005, Swift has spent about 60% of its observing time chasing new GRBs and following up recently detected afterglows. About 10% of the observing time is spent completing calibration observations, 8% on non-GRB targets of opportunity, about 15% on other interesting "fill-in" targets and 8% in SAA cold-pointings (non-science time). Unlike other orbiting observatories, Swift performs 50-100 observations each day, and has already performed well over 30,000 slew maneuvers. To date, over 30 scientific papers from the Swift team have either been accepted for publication, submitted or are being revised for publication.

    Along the way, we've learned first hand what 'Poisson' truly means. From June 7 to July 1, Swift's Burst Alert Telescope (BAT) detected no new GRBs. After July 1, we had no GRBs until July 12. Then in the six days following July 12, BAT detected seven new bursts! So in six weeks, BAT detected eight bursts, but almost all of them were in a single week. The average rate is very close to the 100 per year predicted prior to launch.

    On September 4, 2005, Swift detected the long faint burst GRB050904 due to a special trigger on Swift that was specifically designed by David Palmer and Ed Fenimore (LANL) to find distant, high redshift bursts (which, due to the expansion of the universe, have their burst profiles expanded and smoothed). Much of the gamma-ray emission in GRB050904 was redshifted into the X-ray band, and Swift's XRT saw a strong signal. The afterglow, shifted into the infrared, was discovered by Daniel Reichart and undergraduate Josh Haislip (UNC) using the NSF/NOAO 4.1m Southern Observatory for Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope. Subsequent IR observations by Nobuyaki Kawai from the Tokyo Institute of Technology using the the NAOJ 8.2-meter Subaru telescope led to the redshift estimate of 6.29, the highest redshift GRB yet observed, at a distance of 12.8 billion light years.

    As discussed in the last Newsletter, Swift is making huge progress in unraveling the mystery of short bursts. The paper on the localization of GRB 050509b was published in Nature magazine in conjunction with papers on the HETE burst GRB 050709. Images of both were featured on the cover. A paper on the remarkable short burst GRB 050724 has been accepted by Nature. All evidence points to merging neutron stars as the origin of short GRBs.

    In addition to the BAT bursts, Swift is also re-pointed to observe HETE-2 and INTEGRAL-discovered bursts whenever feasible. As of October 28, Swift has chased after 91 GRBs.

    Swift is typically able to respond autonomously to BAT bursts, and start XRT and UVOT observations in less than three minutes after the gamma-ray emission from the burst is detected. In one case we reached the burst in time to have simultaneous X-ray and gamma-ray detections. See the Swift website for a table of all Swift GRBs including BAT T90, XRT fluxes, and UVOT magnitudes as well as positions from all three instruments at http://swift.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/swift/archive/grb_table/

    Swift was also a major player in the follow-up to the Deep Impact collision with Comet Tempel 1 in July. Swift performed daily monitoring both before and after the impact (except for a four day period when the Moon and comet were too close together). Swift recorded an impressive UV light curve for the comet, and a dramatic X-ray flare. More details, including animations, can be found at the following website: http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Swift-Deep-Impact.htm

    Swift is proving to be a valuable asset for responding to new supernova discoveries, and we have observed 5 supernovae in the optical and UV and searched for X-ray flux. Peter Brown (PSU) and Stephen Holland (GSFC) led the analysis of Swift data for SN2005am, which was accepted for publication.

    The dramatic X-ray flares in GRB050406 and 050502b have been accepted for publication in Science, in a paper led by David Burrows (PSU). The Swift-discovered early X-ray light curves have been accepted in a paper for Nature, led by Gianpiero Tagliaferri (OAB).

    Swift Guest Investigator Program Update

    The Swift Cycle 2 peer review was held in mid-September. A total of 66 budget proposals were submitted requesting $2.67 million in funding. The peer review accepted 34 of these proposals for a total of $1.25 million. The funding period is March 2006- March 2007. The Swift Cycle 3 announcement is currently being drafted and will appear as part of NASA HQ's ROSES-2006.

    Swift results will be featured in the ?October Maryland? Astrophysics meeting, which this year is being held November 29- December 2, in Washington DC. Entitled ?Gamma-ray Bursts in the Swift Era,? the conference is expected to showcase the recent discoveries by Swift, as well as other gamma-ray satellites.

    Swift E/PO News:

    The NASA E/PO Group at Sonoma State University is continuing to support the Swift mission now that it is in the routine science observation portion of its mission.

    E/PO Director and Swift Press Officer Lynn Cominsky helped prepare several Swift press releases and press conferences , which included coverage of GRB050904, the most distant (z=6.29) yet observed; GRB050509, the first short GRB with an observed afterglow; the X-ray and UV detections of Deep Impact's collision with comet P/9 Tempel 1.

    The real-time GRB web site ( http://grb.sonoma.edu ) is running well. The page "listens" for announcements from the GCN for Swift, HETE-2, INTEGRAL, and Konus-WIND, and automatically plots the position of the GRB on an all-sky map. Information Technology Consultant Tim Graves has been studiously updating and upgrading the software, including listing the galactic coordinates of GRBs, modifying the listing table to more efficiently display information, and creating a printable page with the GRB information. Soon, the site will display real-time positions of the Earth, Sun, and Moon avoidance zones as seen by Swift. Education Resource Director Phil Plait continues to write brief synopses of the bursts, aimed at the public level. In the time period of August through mid-October (for which we have statistics), the site received about 45,000 unique visits from readers all around the world.

    The second Swift Newsletter was sent out in September. It includes articles by PI Neil Gehrels, Mission Scientists Keith Mason and John Nousek, E/PO Director Lynn Cominsky, and Phil Plait. The articles give mission updates, news, and information about Swift education efforts. The newsletter is available via subscription at http://swift.sonoma.edu/resources/multimedia/newsletter

    We have printed 2500 copies of the "Swift Glider," a kit to build a paper airplane shaped like Swift's eponymous bird, which also has the Swift logo on it. We have also printed 2500 more Swift paper model booklets. These kits will be distributed at local and national educator and science conferences. More information about these materials and more is available at http://swift.sonoma.edu/education/index.html

    Penn State Center for Science and the Schools, in collaboration with Penn State Public Broadcasting (PSPB) and the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium, produced "Swift Eyes Through Time," a teacher's activity guide for 5-8 grade. The package, bundled as a CD-ROM/DVD and binder, consists of activities to go along with a video about Swift and its science (featuring Swift team members). The activity guide is currently being pilot tested in schools across Pennsylvania and nationally, and then will be distributed to schools, individual teachers, libraries, and museums for formal and informal learning purposes. Materials will be distributed nationally to public broadcasting stations through the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA). All materials will also be available free of charge as downloadable files from the PSPB and Swift websites.

    There are currently 5 Swift Educator Ambassadors (Tom Arnold, David Beier, Bruce Hemp, Rae McEntyre, and Rob Sparks). During FY05, Swift Educator Ambassadors and E/PO professionals disseminated educational materials and Swift content through 50 different workshops, lectures and/or conferences. A total of 3315 teachers, students and members of the general public were direct participants, while we estimate that approximately 27,600 others were indirect participants. More information can be found at http://swift.sonoma.edu/ambassador/index.html

    A black hole planetarium show based on the GLAST-sponsored PBS Nova television program is in development, and heavily features Swift and GRBs. This is due for public release in early 2006, and is being directed by Thomas Lucas.

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    10. HETE Mission News - George Ricker (MIT) and Don Lamb (University of Chicago)

    On October 9, HETE celebrated the fifth anniversary of its launch. Over the past half decade, HETE has provided the observer community with prompt, accurate localizations and spectral characteristics of GRB sources. The HETE spacecraft and dedicated ground network continue to operate reliably and efficiently. All three science instruments (i.e., the gamma-ray [Fregate], the medium energy X-ray [WXM], and the soft X-ray cameras [SXC]) continue to work well. HETE is currently localizing ~20 GRBs per year, with 90 GRBs localized in 5 years of operation. HETE's localization sample includes 26 X-ray flashes (XRFs) thus far. Thirty-two HETE localizations have led to detection of an X-ray, optical or radio afterglow. The harvest from SXC-refined localizations of initial WXM detections continues to be particularly rich, with 18 of 25 recent localizations resulting in optical or near IR counterparts; i.e.,72% have IR or optical counterparts. Thus, very few SXC-localized bursts have been optically dark. Furthermore, redshifts have been reported for 22 HETE-localized GRBs.

    The increasing number of HETE bursts that are well-characterized spectrally and that have measured redshifts has greatly extended the range and robustness of the so-called "Amati relation," which correlates Epeak, the value of the peak energy of the spectrum in nu-Fnu, to the burst isotropic energy, Eiso (Amati et al. 2000). Ghirlanda et al. (2004), Dai et al. (2004), Lazzati et al. (2005), and Lamb et al. (2005) have argued that a model-dependent correction of the prompt burst energy for the jet opening angle results in a surprisingly accurate "standard ruler" applicable to cosmography for redshifts up to z ~3, well beyond the range z=0 to z~1.5 currently accessible for Type Ia supernovae. Liang and Zhang (2005) have shown that an equally accurate "standard ruler" results from using the GRB jet break time directly, removing model-dependent corrections and making the GRB "standard ruler" entirely empirical. Discovery of low-redshift bursts with accurately-measured spectra will be essential to test and fully cross-calibrate this promising new methodology, as emphasized by Ghirlanda et al. (2004), Friedman and Bloom (2005), and Lamb et al. (2005). HETE has already discovered 5 long GRBs with redshifts in the range 0.1 < z < 0.5 that will be critical for this cross calibration: more low-z GRB events than from all other satellite missions combined. (Of the 22 long Swift GRBs with redshifts listed in the Swift on-line catalog as of 15 November, there is apparently one, GRB 050803, with a redshift z< 0.5; see http://swift.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/swift/grb_table/grb_table.py )

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

    This summer HETE played a key role in solving the mystery of short GRBs. On July 9th, HETE detected and localized the short burst GRB 050709. Three papers published on October 6th in Nature (Villasenor et al. 2005, Fox et al. 2005, Hjorth et al. 2005) reported several important findings concerning this short GRB: (1) First detection of the optical afterglow of a short burst; (2) Secure identification of the galaxy in which a short burst had occurred; (3) Secure measurement of the redshift of a short burst (z = 0.16); (4) Determination of where in the host galaxy the burst occurred; (5) Absence of any supernova light curve down to very sensitive limits.

    GRB 050709 took place on the outskirts of its host galaxy, implying that it is a very old object, as does the lack of any supernova light curve. The peak flux and fluence of GRB 050709, together with its redshift, implies that this short burst was a thousand times less luminous and a thousand times less energetic than the typical long GRB. These results strongly support the interpretation that short GRBs are due to the mergers of neutron star-neutron star or neutron star-black hole binaries, and are therefore likely associated with the emission of strong bursts of gravitational waves.

    Swift also played a key role in understanding the nature of short GRBs, as is evidenced by the catalogued seven short GRBs that it has detected and localized so far this year, including GRB 050509b and GRB 050724. Continuing progress in understanding short GRBs is likely based on such ongoing observations by Swift.

    The synergy of HETE and Swift continues to be extremely productive, as highlighted by the joint observations of:

    XRF 050215b: Swift and HETE established that this burst is an X-Ray Flash (Nakagawa et al. 2005, Takamoto et al. 2005) with a peak energy Epeak = 26.5 +10/-12 keV in nu-Fnu. The properties of the burst, when taken together with the results of Swift XRT observations of the X-ray afterglow, are difficult to explain by a widely discussed model in which XRFs are due to the effects of relativistic kinematics when a burst is viewed close to but outside the jet opening angle.

    GRB 051022: HETE observations show this event to have the highest fluence of any GRB observed during the HETE mission to date (Doty et al. 2005). Swift XRT observations of the X-ray afterglow led to rapid identification of the host galaxy, which showed that the redshift of the burst was only z = 0.8 (Gal-Yam et al. 2005)), yet no optical or NIR afterglow of the burst was detected -- making it a dramatic example of an "optically dark" GRB. Spectral analysis of HETE observations of the burst (Doty et al. 2005) and the Swift observations of the X-ray afterglow (Butler et al 2005a,b) show that these spectra were significantly absorbed in the rest-frame of the host galaxy, suggesting that the optical and NIR afterglow of the burst were heavily extinguished by dust. Provided that most of the dust is not destroyed by the burst and/or its afterglow, Butler et al. (2005b) estimate that the V band extinction is ~40 magnitudes!

    Six additional GRBs: 050401, 050408, 050824, 050922C, 051021A, and 051028 were jointly observed by HETE and Swift, and are currently being analyzed by members of the two science teams.

    The scientific discoveries that HETE continues to make, as well as the ways in which it is complementary to and synergizes with Swift, are important reasons for continuing HETE operations during the Swift mission. Recognizing this, the 2004 NASA Senior Review recommended that HETE mission operations overlap with Swift mission operations for at least one year, so as to fully exploit the scientific partnership between HETE and Swift. The recommendation of the 2004 Senior Review allowed for a possible further extension that would continue to exploit the scientific partnership between HETE and Swift, pending a peer review. This peer review has yet to occur.

    NASA funding for HETE mission operations is currently planned to end on 31 December 2005, despite the very low cost of continuing operations, and pledges of matching support by HETE's international partners.

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

    The Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) Guest Observer Facility (GOF) recently received proposals for Cycle 11, which will run from March 2006 through February 2007. This is the last observing cycle that we are currently authorized by the Senior Review of 2004 to carry out. RXTE is invited to propose to the 2006 Senior Review for an extension of 2 years, that is, through February 2009. The RXTE Users group is currently discussing the proposal. If you have comments on this which you would like to share with the users group, please send email to the RXTE project scientist at Jean.H.Swank@nasa.gov.

    RXTE continues to be a popular observatory among the high energy astrophysics community. We received 128 proposals in response to the AO11 call for proposals as part of NASA Headquarters' ROSES-05 announcement. Although the total number of proposals received dropped slightly, the amount of time requested by observers, 60.3 Msec, is about the same as in Cycle 10. The RXTE peer review will take place in mid-November. The results will be posted on the RXTE webpage shortly after the review.

    Science Highlights:

    RXTE continues its high rate of scientific discoveries. All of its intruments remain stable and are performing well. This year has been noteworthy for the monitoring of GRO J1655-40 in outburst; the discovery of two new accreting millisecond pulsars, IGR J00291+5934 and HETE J1900.1-2455; the first RXTE observations of the X-ray pulsar A 0535+26; and new findings concerning magnetar bursts. In addition to its own unique science, RXTE continues to support many multi-wavelength efforts, coordinating observations with the complimentary capabilities of Chandra, INTEGRAL, XMM/Newton, Swift and several ground-based and balloon-borne observatories. Some recent RXTE science highlights follow:

    The microquasar GRO J1655-40, found in February to be again in outburst, was the subject of an intensive monitoring campaign, which has only now ended with the decay of the source into the noise of the galactic disk. Jeroen Homan (MIT) posted many results at http://tahti.mit.edu/opensource/1655/, showing the changes of state as the outburst progressed. High-frequency QPOs were found to have a variable frequency, with detections of single peaks near 260 Hz and a pair at 300 Hz and 450 Hz. The low-frequency QPO was found up to frequencies of ~30 Hz and was in a few cases accompanied by a second type of low-frequency QPO near 6 Hz, strengthening the analogy with the different types of low-frequency QPOs in neutron star sources.

    RXTE continues to expand the sample, and our understanding, of accreting millisecond pulsars. Indeed, at the recent AAS meeting in Minneapolis, MN, a well attended special session, "Fundamental Physics with Millisecond Pulsars," surveyed some of the most recent findings and theoretical implications of RXTE observations of accreting millisecond pulars.

    In December, 2004 RXTE observations revealed that the INTEGRAL transient, IGR J00291+5934 is the fastest known accreting ms pulsar, with a spin frequency of 599 Hz. RXTE monitoring of the source found a 2.46 hour binary period, and a minimum companion mass of about 0.04 solar masses. A summary of results is presented by Galloway et al. in ApJ (2005, ApJ, 622, L45). More recently, in June, 2005 the HETE satellite observed a burst from a previously unidentified source, HETE J1900.1-2455. RXTE found that the source is a 377 Hz pulsar (Morgan et al., Atel 523) with a 1.4 hour binary period (Kaaret et al., Atel 538). Optical and Near-IR follow-up observations have also found an optical counterpart (Atel 526, 533, 543), and a likely radio counterpart (Atel 530). This is now only the third such pulsar to show thermonuclear bursts, after SAX J1808.4-3658 and XTE J1814-338.

    Among the millisecond accreting pulsars, besides SAX J1808.4-3658, only XTE J1807-294 has exhibited a pair of kHz quasi-periodic oscillations. For this source the frequency separation is consistent with the spin frequency of 190.6 Hz (Linares et al, astro-ph/0509011). When combined with the previous results on SAX J1808.4-3658, which shows a kHz frequency separation consistent with half its spin frequency, these results conclusively demonstrate that the spin frequency has a crucial effect in producing the observed frequency separation of kHz QPOs.

    In other recent work on kHz oscillations, Didier Barret (CESR/France) and colleagues have undertaken a sytematic archival study of the kHz QPOs in 4U 1636-53 (2005, MNRAS, 361, 855). They find systematic variations of the coherence of the QPOs with frequency. In particular, the coherence value of the lower kHz QPO drops quickly from about 200 to 50 as the QPO frequency varies from 850 to 920 Hz. They suggest the abrupt change in coherence of the lower kHz oscillation might be a manifestation of an innermost stable circular orbit.

    RXTE archival observations of the giant magnetar flares from SGR 1806-20 and SGR 1900+14 are providing exciting new insights on neutron stars. Both flares were so bright that they were observed through the PCA's collimator walls while another faint X-ray source was being observed. First, Gianluca Israel (INAF/Rome) and colleagues reported the discovery of 92.5 Hz oscillations in PCA data from portions of the December, 2004 giant flare from SGR 1806-20 (2005, ApJ, 628, L53). They suggested a possible connection with vibrations of the neutron star crust. Motivated by this, Strohmayer and Watts analysed the earlier, August 1998 flare from SGR 1900+14, which was also detected by the PCA (2005, ApJ, 632, L111). Tney found a set of four oscillation frequencies including one QPO at 155 Hz. The observed frequencies can be accounted for by a sequence of torsional vibration modes of the crust. Comparisons with theoretical calculations of crustal modes, and accurate mode identifications could lead to new methods for constraining neutron star structure.

    Calibration News:

    There have been several new releases of the HEASoft package during the last year, primarily to support the new Swift and Suzaku missions. The most current version as of this writing is HEASoft 6.0.3. There have not been changes to RXTE tools, which have remained stable for some time now. So RXTE users do not need to get the latest HEASoft to analyze their data. Upgrading to HEASoft 6.0.3 should cause no changes to the operations of RXTE tools, on the other hand.

    We are now five years into PCA calibration Epoch 5 (which began with the loss of the propane layer on PCU0 on May 12, 2000). During this time, the gradual decay of RXTE's orbit has resulted in a lower average background rate with time. The PCA background models have been improved recently to account for this secular term, and will be released to the community as soon as final testing is completed. We expect this to occur by the end of 2005.

    RXTE Education and Public Outreach:

    RXTE scientists continue to create and participate in a healthy Education and Public Outreach (EPO) effort. The High Energy Groovie Movie showcases the exciting X-ray universe of black holes, pulsars and active galaxies. The visuals feature a speeded-up "movie" of the X-ray sky, created from the first four years of data taken by the RXTE All Sky Monitor. In addition, NASA press animations illustrate current theories of how these objects might look close up. The soundtrack to the movie is the AstroCappella song High Energy Groove, a musical exploration of the rockin' high energy universe. The movie was designed to be used as a science classroom engagement activity.

    Seven classroom activities for middle and high school physical science classes accompany the movie and reinforce fundamental science concepts such as the electromagnetic spectrum, temperature, frequency and wavelength, and Newton's Laws of motion.

    Check out the High Energy Groovie Movie and activities at http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/outreach/HEG/groovie.html

    RXTE 10th Anniversay Celebrations:

    The 10th anniversary of the launch of RXTE is December 30th, 2005, less than one month away! Several scientific and social events, immediately following the January AAS meeting in Washington, DC, have been organized to honor the occasion. The events will take place in Greenbelt, MD at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC)---where the spacecraft was built and is operated. The events include a party on the evening of January 12 at the NASA/GSFC recreation center and a symposium of science talks on January 13 (in the Bldg 3 auditorium, NASA/GSFC). The symposium will survey the broad contributions of RXTE to high energy astrophysics, as well as highlight some of the latest findings. Immediately following the symposium, Fred Lamb will deliver the Goddard Scientific Colloquium, "The Impact of Rossi XTE on General Relativistic and High Energy Astrophysics." See the RXTE web site for further information and if you would like to attend.( http://xte.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/xte_1st.html)

    Also on January 12, the RXTE Users group will meet to finalize the RXTE response to the 2006 Senior Review call.

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    12. Suzaku News - Richard Kelley, for the Suzaku team

    The long-awaited Japan/US Astro-E2 mission was successfully launched by the JAXA Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) on July 10, 2005 from the Uchinoura Space Center in Japan. As is the custom, the satellite was renamed after it was confirmed that orbit had been successfully achieved. The name "Sazuku" was selected after the mythical red bird significant in Asian cultural history. The initial spacecraft operations were successfully carried out and the spacecraft was placed into the planned circular orbit with altitude 568 km and 31 deg inclination.

    The three main instruments, the high resolution X-Ray Spectrometer (XRS), the imaging X-Ray Imaging Spectrometer (XIS), and the Hard X-Ray Detector (HXD) were all successfully activated during the first month of initial operations. The XRS, a 32-pixel microcalorimeter spectrometer, was successfully cooled to 0.060K with a four-stage cooling system the x-rays were detected using internal calibration sources. The XRS performed to specifications for almost three weeks, achieving an energy resolution of 7 eV (FWHM) at 6 keV. The Stirling cycle mechanical cooler was also successfully activated and is cooling the outer shield of the dewar as expected. But an anomaly appeared on July 29, three days after the dewar main shell vent valve was opened. Several abrupt temperature changes were observed in parts of the dewar system while other signatures indicated clear signs of gas in the dewar vacuum space. There were several more of these anomalies over the next week, and on August 8 there were two more of such events, the second of which caused a thermal short between the helium and neon tanks. This was rapidly followed by evaporation of the liquid helium cryogen. Investigations are underway in the US and Japan, but a preliminary finding is that there was a problem with venting of the dewar He and Ne cryogen gases out to space through the spacecraft, resulting in a higher than expected gas pressure in the dewar main shell.

    There are two other instruments, the XIS and HXD, on board Suzaku that are functioning extremely well, and in fact provide significant new science capabilities. The XIS, developed jointly by MIT, the Universities of Kyoto and Osaka, and ISAS/JAXA, features four CCD cameras, one of which utilizes a backside-illuminated chip for improved sensitivity at low energies. Based on early calibration observations it is clear that the line response is substantially improved compared with previous x-ray CCDs and this should enable improved spectroscopy and sensitivity to lower energy transitions from C, N, and O. The HXD, developed at the University of Tokyo and other institutions in Japan with ISAS is also operating as expected and has very high sensitivity from 10-600 keV. The XIS and HXD are co-aligned and operated simultaneously, providing a very wide energy energy band. Suzaku is thus particularly well-suited for studies of AGN and diffuse sources, including clusters of galaxies, where broadband, multi-component emission processes are present.

    Because the originally approved guest investigator program was formulated around the XRS, it was necessary to generate a new program based on the current performance and capabilities of Suzaku. Further information on an upcoming opportunity for participation in this revised program and possible associated NASA grants funding will be forthcoming over the coming weeks.

    With the XRS out of commission, the project had to reevaluate the initial observing program, selected largely on the basis of XRS science. This includes both observations by Suzaku team members and the guest observer program, originally selected in 2004. For this purpose, ISAS/JAXA will issue a new call for proposals by the first week of November. NASA has anticipated this by issuing Amendment 30 to ROSES-2005. Notices of Intent are due on December 2, 2005, and proposals are due on January 6, 2006. Further details for US-based astronomers can be found on the Suzaku GOF web page http://suzaku.gsfc.nasa.gov/, where pointers to non-US researchers can also be found.

    An updated Technical Description document, the current observing program, sample Suzaku observations, software and calibration data will be made available by mid November.

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    13. GLAST News -- - Steven Ritz

    GLAST marked a key milestone in mid-October at SLAC with the installation of all 16 towers in the Large Area Telescope (LAT). This was a major accomplishment, and it was a result of enormous and dedicated work by the international LAT team and strong support of the funding agencies. Each tower consists of a tracker (TKR) and calorimeter (CAL) module, mounted into a structural grid, along with associated tower electronics. A photograph of the LAT with all 16 towers in it can be viewed at http://glast.sonoma.edu/gallery/images/LAT_1005.JPG . By the time the HEAD newsletter hits the streets, the Anti-Coincidence Detector (ACD), which is already at SLAC, will have been installed over the array of TKRs to form the complete instrument. Environmental testing of the LAT begins in early 2006, followed by delivery for observatory integration in mid-year.

    All flight sensors, electronics, and the data system for the GLAST Burst Monitor (GBM) have been delivered to Marshall Space Flight Center, marking another important milestone. System-level testing is now starting at MSFC, followed by observatory integration in mid-year 2006.

    A LAT collaboration meeting was held 29-31 August at SLAC, focusing on instrument test data analysis, status updates, and science analysis preparation. On the following day, another very successful GLAST mini-symposium was held, this time on the Galactic Center Region, organized by Chuck Dermer and jointly sponsored by the LAT team and the mission Science Working Group (SWG). Concluding a busy week, the SWG had a face-to-face meeting on 2 September. Presentations from the mini-symposium and meetings are linked to the mission website. The next SWG telecon will be in early December.

    The GLAST Users Committee (GUC) had a face-to-face meeting in June at SLAC, followed by a telecon in September. The next face-to-face GUC meeting will be on 8-9 November at Goddard.

    An international organizing committee (IOC) has started meeting to help plan the first GLAST Symposium, a major meeting that will follow in the tradition of the Compton Symposia. Associated with the Symposium, workshops will be held for Guest Investigators on the mission, instrument capabilities, proposal tools, data and science analysis tools, and GLAST Science Support Center (GSSC) functions. Following the recommendation of the GUC, the First GLAST Symposium will occur in February 2007. A first bulletin, including dates and location, will be circulated widely soon.

    Last but not least, we are very happy to announce that Julie McEnery (GSFC) has been named a GLAST Deputy Project Scientist.

    GLAST E/PO News by Phil Plait

    The black hole planetarium show being developed at the Denver Museum of Science and based on the GLAST-sponsored PBS Nova television show is nearing completion. The special effects are done, and the script is in the final stages of editing. A special viewing will be held for museum patrons in December, and the show itself will go public in early 2006. A press kit and a series of educational activities and information guide are being developed and will be available when the show is completed.

    The GLAST Telescope Network (GTN) has begun routine observations of current GLAST program objects. New observing partners continue to be added; eight new observatories were added in FY05, spanning three continents (including Australia, giving much-needed southern hemisphere target coverage). The GTN has been collaborating with the PROMPT GRB team and the Hand-On Universe group to make the observing system more autonomous and efficient, as well as make it available for other telescope networks. The GTN has been working closely with Roseland University Prep, a local (Santa Rosa, California) high school in an underserved area, to bring astronomy education into the classroom. This included the acquisition of a 10" Newtonian computer-controlled telescope which will be given to the school later this year.

    The TOPS Learning Systems module, "Pi in the Sky" has been completed and printed. This is the final in a series of three GLAST-sponsored activity books which use simple household objects (string, paperclips, coins, etc.) to teach math and science. The GLAST Race card game has been completed, and 2500 sets are being printed as this issue goes to press. The Active Galaxies pop-up book is currently being printed, with 3000 copies due for delivery. More information about these materials is located at http://glast.sonoma.edu/teachers/teachers.html.

    During FY05, GLAST Educator Ambassadors and E/PO professionals disseminated educational materials and GLAST content through over 95 different workshops, lectures and/or conferences. A total of 7,138 teachers, students and members of the general public were direct participants, while we estimate that over 44,700 others were indirect participants. For more information, see http://glast.sonoma.edu/ambassadors/index.html.

    We presented two mini-courses co-sponsored by GLAST and several other Universe missions. In June 2005, a six-part mini-course called "You Are Here" was given to children at the Sonoma Valley of the Moon Boys and Girls Club. Organized and executed by E/PO team Program Manager Sarah Silva, it presented the size and scale of the Universe using space science missions as an engagement. The "Modeling the Universe" short course was also presented at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific's conference "The Emerging E/PO Profession" in September in Tucson, Arizona.

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    14. MEETINGS -- Future and Past (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.



    HEAD Division Meeting

    San Franscisco October 4 - 7, 2006


    Supernova and Gamma Ray Burst Remnants

    Dear Colleague

    We are writing to annouce a conference on Supernova and Gamma Ray Burst Remnants at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, UC Santa Barbara, on February 6 - 10 2006.

    The connection between supernovae and gamma ray bursts has provided insight to extend our understanding of both these phenomena beyond what was known from studying them separately. A unique window into the connection between the progenitors and mechanisms of supernovae and gamma ray burst explosions is provided by their remnants. This conference brings together experts of the remnants of both supernovae and gamma ray bursts to combine this collective knowledge and to foster productive communcation between theorists and observers.

    The conference schedule is now available at the website http://www.kitp.ucsb.edu/activities/auto2/?id=338. In addition to these talks, there will be opportunities to present posters. E-mail coordinator Martin Laming (laming@nrl.navy.mil) if you are interested in presenting a poster. Limited space available.

    Please register for the conference now at http://www.kitp.ucsb.edu/activities/grb_c06/register/?id=338

    Early registration deadline - January 6th 2006; Hotel reservation deadline - January 12th 2006

    If you have questions, please contact Martin Laming (laming@nrl.navy.mil), Roger Chevalier (rac5x@virginia.edu) or Una Hwang (hwang@orfeo.gsfc.nasa.gov).



    Beijing, China, 16 - 23 July 2006

    The following sections may be of particular interest --

  • Gamma-ray Bursts in the Swift Era (organizers: Gehrels and Piro)
  • Multi-scale and Multi-wavelength Studies of Black Holes (organizers: Li and Mirabel)
  • Different Manifestations of Neutron Stars (organizers: Lai and Strohmayer)
  • New High-Energy Results on Supernova Remnants and Pulsar Wind Nebulae (organizers: Vink and Slane)
  • Challenges in High Resolution Space Astronomy: Astrophysics, Technology and Data (organizers: Fabbiano and Elvis)
  • Shedding New Light on Dark Matter and Dark Energy (organizers: Jones and Forman)
  • More information on these and other COSPAR sessions can be found at http://www.cosis.net/members/meetings/programme/view.php?p_id=171&PHPSESSID=01f4567b198ca7cc45cae81227aaf078


    Neutrino 2006

    Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Discovery of the Neutrino

    13-19 June 2006 in Santa Fe, NM

    The XXII International Conference on Neutrino Physics and Astrophysics will take place in historic Santa Fe, New Mexico, June 13-19, 2006, at Santa Fe's Lensic Theater. The scientific program will cover the latest developments in neutrino physics, astrophysics, and related topics through a set of invited talks, a poster session, an historic poster session and displayed papers. A more detailed program will be posted at http://neutrinosantafe06.com/


    Heating vs. Cooling in Galaxies and Clusters of Galaxies

    August 6 - 11, 2006 in Garching, Germany

    MPA/ESO/MPE/USM Joint Astronomy Conference

    Detailed multiwavelength observations suggest that the dense plasma regions at the centers of galaxy clusters, previously thought to harbour cooling flows, are subject to a delicate balance between heating and cooling, which substantially reduces mass condensation and star formation rates. While these regions are quite complex, the rich observational detail now becoming available can guide understanding and modelling. The aim of this conference is to provide a synthesis of all the observational evidence and to confront it with astrophysical modelling. Analogous issues arise in the models of galaxy formation where the observed properties and the evolution of the galaxy population can only be explained if gas cooling and star formation are assumed to be regulated by feedback heating. The conference will explore possible connections between these two areas.

    See also our WEB-page: http://www.mpe.mpg.de/~cool06

    Heritage - There has been a series of very successful meetings focussed on the physics of cooling flows, each organized at an appropriate moment and assembling almost all the scientists who made interesting contributions to the field. This series started with the NATO ASI organized by Andy Fabian in Cambridge (1988), which provided an excellent review of the field combining the observational results in the X-ray, optical and radio regimes. The next conference, organized by Noam Soker in Israel in 1995, reviewed in particular the insights gained with ROSAT and ASCA. The third organized by Craig Sarazin and Thomas Reiprich in Charlottesville in 2003 allowed a first discussion of the paradigm change initiated by new results from XMM-Newton and Chandra: the realization that spectral signatures of massive cooling are absent, while clear signatures of AGN interaction with the intracluster medium in several cooling flow clusters are observed, suggesting that AGN may be the source of heating. Some of the most important current questions are how the heating is done and what processes are involved, questions which bring us much more deeply into astrophysics.

    Motivation - In recent years the effort to understand cluster cooling cores has grown both in terms of observation (in particular in X-rays with the Chandra and XMM-Newton satellites) and in terms of detailed numerical hydrodynamical simulations. A review of the state of the subject is thus timely. Also, in recent years it has been much more generally appreciated that the suppression of gas cooling in the center of galaxy clusters may be a model for the effects of feedback in galaxy and structure formation in general. In our meeting we consequently broaden the view to include feedback and self-regulation during galaxy formation.


    *) Evidence for cooling, cold material, and star formation in the centers of galaxy clusters and elliptical galaxies (results from observations in X-rays, optical, IR, radio, absorption studies and other diagnostics)

    *) Heating by the AGN-intracluster medium interaction and by other processes; confrontation with observed cooling core structure (observational results, particularly in X-rays and radio, and theoretical modelling and simulations)

    *) The entropy structure of the intracluster medium and chemical enrichment as signatures of feedback heating in the past

    *) The need for feedback regulation in galaxy formation (detailed comparison of model predictions and observations), modelling of feedback during galaxy formation both from stars/supernovae and from AGN

    Scientific Organizing Committee

    Monique Arnaud (Saclay), Mitchell Begelman (Boulder, Colorado), Hans Boehringer (MPE), Megan Donahue (Michigan State Univ.), Andy Fabian (Cambridge), Guenther Hasinger (MPE), Tim Heckman (JHU, Baltimore), Christine Jones (CfA), Brian McNamara (Ohio), Takaya Ohashi (Tokyo Metrop. Univ.), Frazer Owen (Soccoro), Max Pettini (Cambridge), Thomas Reiprich (Bonn Univ.), Alvio Renzini (Padova), Piero Rosati (ESO), Craig Sarazin (Univ. of Virginia), Noam Soker (Technion), Rashid Sunyeav (MPA), Simon White (MPA)


    Bethe Centennial Symposium on Astrophysics

    The Bethe Centennial Symposium on Astrophysics will be held at Cornell University on June 2 and 3, 2006. This symposium, which will be hosted by the Departments of Physics and Astronomy, is intended to celebrate Hans's exuberance for astrophysics by looking ahead to the future of those areas of inquiry that captivated him most during the last 40 years of his extraordinarily productive life.

    There will be four principal sessions at the symposium, and one evening reception:

    Friday June 2, Morning Session: --SUPERNOVAE: OBSERVATIONS AND THEORY-- Invited Speakers: R. Kirshner (Harvard), S. Woosley (UCSC); Panel Moderator: J. C. Wheeler (Texas)

    Friday June 2, Afternoon Session: --NEUTRINO ASTROPHYSICS: THE SUN AND BEYOND-- Invited Speakers: A. McDonald (Queens/SNO), W. Haxton (Washington); Panel Moderator: B. Kayser (FNAL)

    Friday June 2, Evening: Banquet, Statler Ballroom; After Dinner Speaker: E. E. Salpeter (Cornell)

    Saturday June 3, Morning Session: --COMPACT OBJECTS: ASTROPHYSICS AND OBSERVATIONS-- Invited Speakers: R. Sunyaev (MPI), S. Kulkarni (Caltech); Panel Moderator: L. Bildsten (KITP)

    Saturday June 3, Afternoon Session: --THE FUTURE OF HIGH ENERGY ASTROPHYSICS-- Invited Speakers: M. Turner (Chicago/NSF), K. Thorne (Caltech), R. Blandford (KIPAC); Panel Moderator: D. Helfand (Columbia)

    In addition to the invited summary lectures, each session will have a discussion featuring invited panelists, with an open microphone to encourage questions and comments from all symposium attendees. Poster sessions for communicating new scientific results and ideas will take place during program breaks.

    Additional information can be found at http://astro.cornell.edu/~dong/bethe.htm

    LOCAL ORGANIZING COMMITTEE: Rachel Bean, David Chernoff, Eanna Flanagan, Dong Lai, Richard Lovelace, Saul Teukolsky, Yervant Terzian, Ira Wasserman (Chair)


    The Multicoloured Landscape of Compact Objects and their Explosive Origins: Theory vs. Observations

    June 11 - 24, 2006, Cefalu', Sicily (Italy)

    The main goal of this multidisciplinary workshop is to present and discuss (via invited and contributed talks and posters) the main scientific results of current research work in the field of compact objects and their progenitors. The most violent phenomena in the universe are related to the extreme physical conditions which occur during the formation and lifetime of collapsed objects.

    The workshop will therefore deal with subjects going from Gamma Ray Burst, to Supernovae, to Binary Systems harbouring a compact object, and to Active Galactic Nuclei, allowing for fruitful close interactions and useful discussions between scientists studying the most extreme physical phenomena in the Universe.

    In particular, during the meeting we will focus on the following scientific areas:

  • GAMMA RAY BURSTS (June 12-13)
  • MAGNETAR CANDIDATES: Soft Gamma-ray Repeaters and Anomalous X-ray Pulsars (June 13-14)
  • SUPERNOVAE (June 14-17)
  • It is possible to participate to one or two weeks with the following registration fees:

    - One week (early registration): Euro 320 - Two weeks (early registration): Euro 400

    - One week (late registration): Euro 370 - Two weeks (late registration): Euro 450

    The Meeting will take place in the Sala delle Capriate of the Historical Cefalu' Municipal Palace in the very center of Cefalu', facing the Arab-Norman Cathedral (Duomo). Part of the conference will also be hosted in the close-by Sala S. Caterina (poster session and coffee breaks). Computers and web facilities will be available in the rooms of the Historical Building of the Fondazione Mandralisca. The two buildings are 5 min walk from each other.

    For more general information on Cefalu', please consult the links of our WWW page:



    Texas in Australia

    23rd Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics

    Melbourne, Australia, 11-15 December 2006

    for more information, please see http://www.texas06.com


    6th Integral Workshop -- The Obscured Universe

    2 - 8 July 2006, St. Petersburg, Russia

    The 6th INTEGRAL (International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory) workshop `The Obscured Universe' will take place from 2 - 8 July 2006 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

    The workshop will be associated with XI Marcel Grossmann meeting ( http://www.icra.it/MG/mg11/). It is planned that the Marcel Grossmann meeting and INTEGRAL workshop will have a joint opening session in Tavricheskiy Palace, two joint scientific sessions, a common broad cultural programme and a common conference dinner.

    The workshop is being jointly co-sponsored by ESA and IKI.

    Information on workshop registration and hotel booking, instructions for authors and kits for the preparation of abstracts (including examples) will be made available in due time via the WWW pages of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) (final details will be given in the second circular): http://hea.iki.rssi.ru/integral06

    The ESA INTEGRAL pages on the WWW will also provide access to the latest workshop information: http://integral.esac.esa.int/integ_workshops.html

    It is intended to make all accepted abstracts and the scientific programme information available on the WWW.

    The deadline for receipt of abstracts is 01 March 2006


    6th International Conference on High Energy Density Laboratory Astrophysics

    March 11-14, 2006, Rice University, Houston, Texas

    Conference website: http://www.hedla.org

    We are pleased to announce the 6th International Conference on High Energy Density Laboratory Astrophysics, to be held March 11 to 14 on the campus of Rice University in Houston, Texas. This is a continuation of the very successful previous conferences, held in 1996 in Pleasanton, California, in 1998 at the University of Arizona, in 2000 at Rice, in 2002 at the University of Michigan, and in 2004 at the University of Arizona (organized by the University of Rochester).

    During the past decade, research teams around the world have developed astrophysics-relevant research utilizing high energy-density facilities such as intense lasers and z-pinches. Research is underway in many areas, such as compressible hydrodynamic mixing, strong shock phenomena, radiation flow, radiative shocks and jets, complex opacities, equations of state, superstrong magnetic fields, and relativistic plasmas. Ongoing research is producing exciting results using the Omega laser at the University of Rochester, the Z machine at Sandia National Laboratories, and other facilities worldwide. Future astrophysics-related experiments are now being planned for the 2 MJ National Ignition Facility (NIF) laser at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the 2 MJ Laser Megajoule (LMJ) in Bordeaux, France; petawatt-class lasers now under construction in several countries, and future Z pinches. To further focus attention on this emerging research frontier, we are convening the 6th International Conference in this series.

    The abstract deadline is January 13, 2006.

    All conference presenters will be invited to submit papers for the refereed conference proceedings, once again to be published in Astrophysics and Space Science. The proceedings of the 5th Conference are available as Vol. 298.

    Topics Include:

  • Stellar evolution, stellar envelopes, opacitities, radiation transport
  • Planetary Interiors, high-pressure EOS, dense plasma atomic physics
  • Supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, exploding systems, strong shocks, turbulent mixing
  • Supernova remnants, shock processing, radiative shocks
  • Astrophysical jets, high-Mach-number flows, magnetized radiative jets, magnetic reconnection
  • Compact object accretion disks, x-ray photoionized plasmas
  • Ultrastrong fields, particle acceleration, collisionless shocks
  • Conference Administrator:

    Umbe Cantu, Rice University, Physics & Astronomy Department MS 108, 6100 Main St., Houston, TX 77005-1892; Tel. (713) 348-4939, Fax: (713) 348-5143

    Organizing Committee: Edison Liang (Rice University), George Kyrala (Los Alamos National Laboratory), Sergey Lebedev (Imperial College London), Paul Drake (University of Michigan), Bruce Remington (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), Hideaki Takabe (Osaka University Japan)

    Scientific Advisory Committee: Paul Bellan (California Inst. of Technology), Serge Bouquet (Commissariat Energie Atomique), Adam Frank (University of Rochester), Patrick Hartigan (Rice University), Masahiro Hoshino (University of Tokyo), Michel Koenig (Ecole Polytechnique), Hui Li (Los Alamos National Laboratory), Shin Mineshige (Kyoto University), Tom Ray (Dublin Inst. for Advanced Studies), Wil van Breugel (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), plus the organizing committee members


    High Resolution X-Ray Spectroscopy: Towards XEUS and CON-X

    27 - 28 March 2006

    Mullard Space Science Laboratory, Holmbury St Mary, Dorking, Surrey, UK

    Registration and abstract deadline - 15th January 2006

    Since the launch of the Chandra and the XMM-Newton observatories six years ago, astronomers have become familiar with high resolution X-ray spectra provided by dispersive spectrometers. A whole new source parameter space has been opened up to investigation and exciting new insights have been revealed into the physics and energetics of X-ray emitters and absorbers. Soon further advances in this field will be provided by non-dispersive spectrometers, with similar high resolution to current instrumentation and with enhanced sensitivity.

    The time is right, then, to take stock of what has been achieved, to review our current understanding and to consider how to build on it, by taking advantage of future opportunities such as XEUS and Con-X. With this in mind we invite those in the astronomical community with an interest in high resolution X-ray spectroscopy to get together again at MSSL, in a workshop that will hopefully be as vibrant and successful as its precursor in October 2002.

    In addition to the invited speakers programme, there will time for a number of contributed talks (focussing on XMM-Newton and Chandra spectroscopy results). Space for poster papers will also be available.

    For more details, visit the workshop website: http://www.mssl.ucl.ac.uk/~gbr/workshop2/

    Because there will be a limited number of places, we ask that you advise us of your attendance as soon as possible, and in any case before 15th January 2006.


    SWIFT and GRBs: Unveiling the Relativistic Universe

    5-9 June 2006, Venice

    Topics and Abstract

  • Prompt Emission
  • Afterglow, Progenitors
  • Supernovae
  • Parent populations and Host Galaxies
  • Cosmology and GRBs (Pop III and IGM)
  • Ultra High Energy Emission
  • Non standard GRB models
  • The Swift satellite is operating very satisfactory, providing a large amount of data on Gamma Ray Bursts. At the same time it is mapping, at ever increasing depth, the high energy sky. The first Swift meeting, in Washington (November 2005) will discuss topics covering the new discoveries obtained in the first 12 months of operations. At this meeting, in Venice, we will cover topics regarding the observations, new findings and the recent theories developed to model the observations. In addition to the broad research field related to GRBs and high energy phenomena, Swift-related research is also broadening our understanding of the late phases of stellar evolution, the physics of relativistic stars and cosmology.

    In all these endeavors scientists, using Swift, HETE, INTEGRAL and IPN, trigger observations obtaining new data with other facilities in space or on the ground. Thus, we are witnessing not only the power of a multi-wavelength Observatory but also the power of a world-wide community operating with the best available instruments.

    More information at http://www.merate.mi.astro.it/docM/OAB/Research/SWIFT/sanservolo2006/index.html


    Physics and Astrophysics of Supermassive Black-Holes

    July 9 - 14, 2006, Santa Fe, New Mexico

    In the past, they were recognized as the most destructive force in nature. Now, following a cascade of astonishing discoveries, supermassive black holes have undergone a dramatic shift in paradigm. Astronomers are finding out that these objects may have been critical to the formation of structure in the early universe, spawning bursts of star formation, planets, and even life itself. They may have contributed as much as half of all the radiation produced after the Big Bang, and at least 300 million of them may now be lurking through the vast expanses of the observable cosmos. The most accessible among them appears to be lurking at the Center of our own Galaxy.

    This meeting will bring together astronomers, astrophysicists, and general relativistis now working at the forefront of supermassive black hole research with the goal of furthering our understanding of the formation and evolution of these intriguing objects.

    This gathering is sponsored jointly by Los Alamos National Laboratory and The University of Arizona, and will be held at the Bishop's Lodge Resort and Spa, just minutes outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The hotel website may be found at http://www.bishopslodge.com/. If you are not familiar with Santa Fe, one of the most historic cities in the U.S., you may find useful information at http://santafe.org/. Among the many attractions that Santa Fe has to offer, the open-air opera season begins July 2. The current invitees include the following: M. Begelman**, M. Livio*, R. Blandford, F. Melia*, W. Duschl*, D. Merritt*, M. Elvis*, J. Ostriker*, A. Fabian*, M. Rees**, P. Fabbiano*, C. Reynolds*, X. Fan*, D. Richstone*, C. Fryer*, S. Shapiro**, K. Gebhardt*, J. Silk*, R. Genzel*, P. Strittmatter**, A. Goldwurm*, R. Sunyaev*, M. Haehnelt*, K. Thorne**, J. Hawley*, M. Urry*, R. Kerr*, F. Yusef-Zadeh*, S. Komossa*, [* confirmed, ** tentative confirmation]

    Details of the meeting, including the registration page, may be found at http://qso.lanl.gov/meetings/meet2006/index.html. Please check this site regularly for updates, including the complete list of attendees, hotel reservations, and travel information.

    There is no conference fee and LANL is partially subsidizing hotel costs. However, due to space limitations at the meeting site, the total number of participants will be restricted to 100 individuals. We therefore urge you to register as soon as possible, but no later than January 31, 2006, when decisions regarding attendance will be made. Registration after this date will still be possible, but all the available slots may be filled by then.

    The Local Organizing Committee: C. Fryer (fryer@lanl.gov), F. Melia (melia@physics.arizona.edu), G. Rockefeller (gaber@lanl.gov)

    The Scientific Committee: R. Blandford, S. Komossa, A. Fabian, F. Melia, X. Fan, D. Merritt, C. Fryer, M. Rees, R. Genzel, S. Shapiro, A. Goldwurm, R. Sunyaev


    Constellation-X Mission Facility Science Team - Open Meeting

    15 - 16 February 2006 (Royal Sonesta Hotel, Cambridge, MA)

    This is an open meeting so all interested parties are welcome to attend. If you are not a member of the FST or its science panels and plan on attending, please notify the FST Chair, Harvey Tananbaum - ht@cfa.harvard.edu

    A preliminary agenda and information about a special conference room rate at the Royal Sonesta will be available sometime next week at: https://conxproj.gsfc.nasa.gov/resources/page.asp?base=RESOURCES/UPCOMING_EVENTS&target=upcomingevents_new

    A list of potential topics for the meeting is already provided on that page.


    Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute Spring 2006 Program on Astrostatistics

    KICKOFF TUTORIALS & WORKSHOP January 18-25, 2006

    The Opening Tutorials for the SAMSI program on Astrostatistics will be held Wednesday-Sunday, January 18-22, 2006, at SAMSI. These are designed to expose astronomers to modern methodologies in statistics and applied mathematics and familiarize statisticians with current trends in astronomy. The dates and subjects are as follows:

    Tutorial 1. Bayesian Astrostatistics (January 18-20, 2006), Tom Loredo (Cornell) - Leader

    Tutorial 2. Nonparametric Statistics and Machine Learning for Astronomers (January 21-22, 2006), Larry Wasserman (Carnegie-Mellon) - Leader.

    Tutorial 3. Astronomy for Statisticians (January 21-22, 2006), William Jeffreys (UTexas) and Eric Feigelson (Penn State) - Leaders.

    The Opening Workshop for the program will be held January 23-25, 2006 at the Radisson Hotel RTP in Research Triangle Park, NC. This workshop will focus on setting the scientific agenda for the program. Programmatic perspectives and necessary research directions will be provided by invited speakers and moderators who will focus the discussion among the attendees.

    Further details about the topics of the tutorials and the program for the opening workshop are available at http://www.samsi.info/workshops/2005astro-workshop200601.shtml

    The application form for attendance at these events is also located there. Young researchers (graduate students, postdocs, and faculty in the early stages of their careers) and members of underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply.

    The tutorials and workshop are joint activities with the Center for Astrostatistics at Penn State University.

    Scientific Committee -- G. J. Babu (Penn State University) - Chair, Alanna Connors (Eureka Scientific), Tom Loredo (Cornell University), and Larry Wasserman (Carnegie-Mellon University); Jim Berger (SAMSI - Directorate Liaison); Peter Bickel (Berkeley - National Advisory Committee Liaison)


    PAST MEETINGS -- with new WEB Proceedings


    4th International X-Ray Astronomy School

    The school was held this year in Cambridge, MA from August 15 to August 19. Attended by 48 students from all over the world, the school was a smashing success. For the first time we offered "hand-on" experience with data in addition to the lectures, and it was clear from the student's presentations at the end of the school that they all had worked hard on their projects and improved their understanding of the X-ray data analysis process. The school was organized in collaboration between the HEASARC at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the Chandra X-ray Observatory Center. Many thanks to the instructors who worked on their lectures, the administration and computer groups and specialists at the Cfa for their support before and during the school. Lectures for the school can be accessed at: http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xrayschool/schedule.html (and don't forget to check out the pictures accessible from the home page at: http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xrayschool/index.html


    Chandra Calibration Workshop - 2005

    The Chandra Calibration Workshop was held on Oct 31 and Nov 1 in Cambridge, MA. The presentations and posters from the workshop are now available online, at http://cxc.harvard.edu/ccw/proceedings/05_proc/


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    HEADNEWS, the electronic newsletter of the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society, is issued twice yearly by the HEAD Secretary-Treasurer. The HEAD Executive Committee Members are:

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