Newsletter No. 88, May 2006
  1. Notes from the Editor - Christine Jones
  2. Views from the HEAD Chair - Stephen S. Murray
  3. News from NASA Headquarters - Rick Harnden
  4. 2006 Bruno Rossi Prize Winners - Ilana Harrus (HEAD Press Officer) and Christopher Wanjek (EUD science writer)
  5. HEAD in the NEWS - Ilana Harrus, Christopher Wanjek and Megan Watzke
  6. Chandra X-ray Observatory Operations Report - Roger Brissenden (SAO) and Martin Weisskopf (MSFC)
  7. Chandra Fellows for 2006 Named - Nancy Evans Report - Nancy Evans
  8. XMM-Newton Mission News - Randall Smith and Phil Plait
  9. INTEGRAL Mission News - Christoph Winkler
  10. RHESSI Mission News - David Smith
  11. Swift Mission News - Christopher Wanjek, Phil Plait and Lynn Cominsky
  12. RXTE News - Padi Boyd, Keith Jahoda, Gail Rohrbach, Evan Smith, Jean Swank, Craig Markwardt, Tod Strohmayer
  13. Suzaku Mission News - Richard Kelley for the Suzaku team
  14. GLAST Mission News - Stephen Ritz, Phil Plait and Lynn Cominsky
  15. Constellation-X News - Jay Bookbinder, Ann Hornschemeier and Michael Garcia
  16. Meeting Announcements:




from the Editor - Christine Jones, HEAD Secretary-Treasurer, headsec "at" cfa.harvard.edu, 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.may06.html.

Plans are underway for the next HEAD DIVISION MEETING which will be held in San Francisco from Wednesday October 4 through Saturday October 7, 2006 at the Stanford Court Hotel. Please mark your calendars, bookmark the conference website and get on the conference mailing list: http://www.confcon.com/head2006/head06.php

Abstracts for the HEAD meeting are due July 21st to be published in B.A.A.S.

Also note that the deadline for the David Schramm Award for High Energy Astrophysics Science Journalism is June 15, 2006.

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2. Views from the HEAD Chair - Stephen S. Murray

As many of you already know, the news from NASA regarding space science is at best mixed. The current set of HEA missions is dwindling. Our flagship X-ray mission, Chandra, and the ESA XMM-Newton missian are doing very well scientifically as is the GRB mission Swift. RXTE was granted an extension until 2007, but no follow-on timing mission is currently planned. However, Astro-E2 (aka Suzaku) lost the XRS microcalorimeter, and HETE-2 is being terminated.

As for new high energy astrophysics missions, GLAST will launch by the end of CY2006 or early in CY2007. The Exporer NuSTAR has been terminated (or deferred), and other than Constellation-X and LISA, which are pre-Phase-A, there are no other HEA missions in the NASA pipeline. A look at the Science Mission Directorate budget, and in particular the Astrophysics (aka Universe) Division shows that there is no wedge opening up for the next several years and that the Beyond Einstein Program budget is flat through FY2009. The proposed budget for Con-X and LISA through FY2009 is very low. It is not enough to sustain the development work that is needed, and in fact these projects are in the process of starving with associated labs dissipating. This is a dangerous situation for all of High Energy Astrophysics. Furthermore, contrary to the recently completed Universe Roadmap May 20, 2005 (available at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/apio/universe.htm), there is no commitment to move either LISA or Con-X into Phase-B once more funds do become available. Instead there are words in the President's Budget (and the NASA plan as presented by Mary Cleave to the Space Science Board in March, 2006) to the effect that a decision regarding the Beyond Einstein missions Con-X, LISA, and including JDEM as well, will not be made until FY2009 at the earliest. It is quite possible that NASA could move JDEM ahead of the flagship missions. The earliest possible launch dates for any of these missions is rapidly closing in on the 2015 time frame and beyond!

In the scenario supported by the FY2006 Presidential Budget, a projection of no new HEA space missions after GLAST, for a decade or more, presents a serious threat to the viability of our field. With the Explorer Program in hiatus (no new call is expected until Fy2008 at the earliest and thus a launch date that is likely not earlier than 2012), there are virtually no new HEA mission capabilities in the pipeline to carry us past the operational lifetimes of Chandra, Swift and GLAST.

The Research and Analysis (R&A) program is facing a 15% cut in FY2007. This decrease impacts essentially all of the ROSES grants, many of which support High Energy Astrophysics (e.g., ADP, LTSA, APRA, etc.). Many HEAD members will be affected by the lack of funds imposed by the proposed R&A budget. The sub-orbital R&A program is also slated for a 15% funding decrease in FY2007 resulting in fewer new opportunities for balloons or rockets. There should still be some support for new instrument development and short observations but not as much as in the past.

So, the question is what to do? First our membership needs to be aware of the new NASA advisory structure. There is a list of the advisory committees (and working groups that are not advisory) at the end of this message. Second we need to get a message to our colleagues on the Astrophysics Sub-Committee of the Science Committee of the NASA Advisory Council that we are worried in a broad and general way about the health of HEA and its safe passage through these difficult times. Third, members of our community might want to let their elected officials know how they feel about the NASA budget and its impact on science. A list of various committee members can be found on the AAS Web site ( http://www.aas.org/policy/Contact.html).

Contact Information for Working Groups and Advisory Committees -

  • Universe Working Group: Michael Cherry (Ch) cherry@lsu.edu
  • Astrophysics Sub-Committee: David Spergel (Ch) dns@astro.princeton.edu
  • NASA Advisory Council: Neil Tyson (member) tyson@astro.amnh.org
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    3. News from NASA Headquarters - Rick Harnden

    Those who track changes at NASA Headquarters may already know that the division formerly known as "Universe" will soon be officially renamed the "Astrophysics Division." Some may even remember that it had previously been known by this name in the mid '90s. Also in the process of being renamed are the three other divisions within the Science Mission Directorate (SMD), which is now led by Associate Administrator Dr. Mary Cleave and her deputy Dr. Colleen Hartman. (Still not official as of this writing, new names for the other divisions can be seen in the "org chart" that accompanies the first web link below.)

    NASA's science missions have continued to be "in the news," as can be seen from articles elsewhere in this issue. Perhaps less laudable are two political issues that have also received recent media attention: budget cuts and "censorship." Regarding the former, on March 13, 2006, Dr. Cleave issued a "Dear Colleague" letter, which can be viewed on the web, e.g., at: http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=19928

    As noted in her letter, a "constrained Federal budget environment" presents "exciting but also challenging times" for NASA. Both "The Hill" and the astronomical community have reacted to the NASA budget reductions.

    Charges of "censorship" within the agency were swiftly dealt with by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, who on March 30 promulgated new "Principles and Policies on Scientific Openness." A link to the complete policy document is contained in an article at: http://spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=20121

    First among the principles announced by Dr. Griffin is that NASA "is committed to a culture of openness with the media and public that values the free exchange of ideas...accurate and unfiltered."

    As noted in Dr. Cleave's letter, the SMD Science Subcommittees have been reconstituted under the NASA Advisory Council. The first subcommittee meetings were held May 3-4, 2006, at the U. MD Conference Center.

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    4. 2006 Bruno Rossi Prize Winners - Ilana Harrus (HEAD Press Officer)

    Three scientists shared this year's Bruno Rossi Prize for their pioneering work on understanding the exotic environment around fast-spinning neutron stars, where matter can whirl about at nearly light speed and where space itself is warped. The prize, awarded in honor of Professor Bruno Rossi, is the top award given each year by HEAD. The prize includes a talk to be given by the winners at the upcoming January AAS meeting, an engraved certificate and a $1,500 award to be shared among the winners.

    The winners are Tod Strohmayer of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Deepto Chakrabarty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Rudy Wijnands of the University of Amsterdam.

    The three were recognized "for their pioneering research which revealed millisecond spin periods and established the powerful diagnostic tool of kilohertz intensity oscillations in accreting neutron star binary systems."

    Their work, done both independently and sometimes as collaborators, has been described as breakthrough in interpreting the complex signals emitted as X-ray light from millisecond pulsars. These scientists have revealed that oscillations in the emitted X-ray light can be used to measure the pulsar's spin rate and other key parameters. Their observations were made with NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, now in its 11th year of operation.

    "This is an unexpected honor," said Strohmayer. "This award really acknowledges the community who built, operates and interprets data from the Rossi Explorer. Without the dedication of many scientists and engineers, none of the observations that my co-winners and I have made would have been possible."

    Strohmayer, an expert on thermonuclear X-ray bursts emitted from the surface of neutron stars, credits Jean Swank, the Rossi Explorer project scientist, also at NASA Goddard, for giving him the opportunity to join the Rossi team.

    Deepto Chakrabarty, an associate professor of physics at MIT and a researcher at MIT's Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, is an expert on millisecond pulsars. He credits his MIT colleagues and collaborators, especially research scientist Edward Morgan, for making his discoveries possible.

    "Bruno Rossi was a giant at MIT; and as a MIT professor, I am humbled to receive an award named in his honor," Chakrabarty said. "The Rossi Explorer is a powerful tool to probe the environs of black holes and neutron stars. It has been thrilling to join my colleagues in so many discoveries."

    Rudy Wijnands, a member of the University of Amsterdam's High-Energy Astrophysics Group, discovered the first accreting millisecond pulsar, in 1998. He is an expert in interpreting signals from X-ray pulsars called quasi-periodic oscillations, or QPOs, emitted from gas whipping around the pulsar at high speeds.

    "I am very happy and thrilled that I received this award and that the work of myself and of Deepto and Tod is recognized as being important," said Wijnands. "I feel honored to be among the list of scientists who have received this award."

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    5. 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:

    Swift continues its winning streak. Since last HEAD newsletter, the mission won the "Best of "What's New"" award from Popular Science magazine and was called one of Hubble's playmates on the front page of the January issue of Sky and Telescope (along with Chandra, Spitzer and Galex). Not to be undone by a newcomer, the older/wiser RXTE generated some stories about event horizons and stable orbits. A result on the X-ray background result, using RXTE data, also got good coverage.

    Results from the Chandra mission were presented at both the AAS in Washington, DC, as well as the bi-annual "6 Years of Chandra" symposium in Cambridge, Mass. Chandra was featured in press conferences at both events. Also, the CXC EPO group hosted a successful symposium on visualizing astronomy at the "6 Years" meeting, which included a panel of reporters giving feedback to those in attendance on what the media find useful. From their perspectives at The Boston Globe, National Geographic, and The Discovery Channel, a great deal of insight and helpful information was shared.

    Chandra results were featured during a NASA media telecom (phone-participation press conference) on April 24th. The results from that press event will appear in the next issue of the HEAD Newsletter. On a sadder note, we would like to extend our sincere condolences to Col. Eileen Collins, the commander of STS-93, the shuttle mission that put Chandra into orbit. Her father died on Feb 28. 2006 after being hit by a car in Elmira (NY) where he had gone to hear his daughter speak at a local high school.

    Below is the list of all HEAD-related press releases issued in the past 6 months.

    Please see also: http://universe.nasa.gov/press/2006/ for press releases on subjects linked to the Structure & Evolution of the Universe. There is a large overlap with what is presented below.

    April 19 http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMSIWNFGLE_index_0.html

    April 18 http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2006/apr/HQ_06188_black_hole_simulation.html

    April 17 http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2006/apr/HQ_M06064_Chandra_update.html

    April 07 http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=987&Itemid=2

    April 06 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/06_releases/press_040606.html

  • http://www.virginia.edu/topnews/releases2006/20060406blackhole.html
  • April 05

  • http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=984&Itemid=2
  • http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=985&Itemid=2

    April 04

  • http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=976&Itemid=2
  • http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=978&Itemid=2
  • http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=979&Itemid=2
  • April 05

  • http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=984&Itemid=2
  • http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=985&Itemid=2
  • April 04

  • http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=976&Itemid=2
  • http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=978&Itemid=2
  • http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=979&Itemid=2
  • March 23

  • http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/06_releases/press_032306.html
  • http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2006/06-034.html
  • http://www.umich.edu/news/index.html?Releases/2006/Mar06/r032306d
  • March 21 http://www.news.wisc.edu/12310.html

    March 17 http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=38954

    March 07 http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Burrows3-2006.htm

    March 03 http://www.jb.man.ac.uk/news/brakingpulsar/

    Feb 24

  • http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Nousek2-2006.htm
  • http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/swift/bursts/oddball_burst.html
  • http://www.pparc.ac.uk/Nw/new_cosmic_explosion.asp
  • Feb 23 http://www.jhu.edu/news_info/news/home06/feb06/fuse.html

    Feb 23 http://www.jhu.edu/news_info/news/home06/feb06/fuse.html

    Feb 22 http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2006/feb/HQ_M06067_Milky_Way_Map.html

    Feb 17 http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Brandt2-2006.htm

    Feb 03 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/06_releases/press_020306.html

    Feb 02 http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2006/neutron_award.html

    Jan 31 http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/press/pr0612.html

    Jan 25 http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/press/pr0609.html

    Jan 18 http://www.aas.org/head/rossi/rossi.recip.html#V

    Jan 12

  • http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/press/pr0608.html
  • http://www.jb.man.ac.uk/news/youngestbinarypulsar/
  • http://www.jhu.edu/news_info/news/home06/jan06/haro.html
  • Jan 10

  • http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2006/jan/HQ_06006_Chandra_AAS_update.html
  • http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/06_releases/press_011006.html
  • http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2006/06-001.html
  • http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2005/blackhole_noreturn.html
  • http://www.umich.edu/news/index.html?Releases/2006/Jan06/r011006b
  • Jan 09

  • http://www.ucsc.edu/news_events/press_releases/text.asp?pid=797
  • http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/press/pr0604.html
  • Jan 05

  • http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2006/milkyway_seven.html
  • http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2005/new_blackhole.html
  • Dec 29 http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2005/05-192.html

    Dec 28 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_122805.html

    Dec 17 http://wwwinaf.astro.unipd.it/ufficio-stampa/comunicati-stampa-del-2005/cs_all_2005.pdf

    Dec 15 http://www.ucsc.edu/news_events/press_releases/text.asp?pid=794

    Dec 14

  • http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Meszaros12-2005.htm
  • http://www.eso.org/outreach/press-rel/pr-2005/pr-32-05.html
  • http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/starsgalaxies/blackhole_meal.html
  • Dec 12 http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/05/051130.cosmopanel.shtml

    Dec 06 http://www.yale.edu/opa/newsr/05-12-06-01.all.html

    Dec 01

  • http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_120105.html
  • http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2005/05-187.html
  • http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/html/heic0515.html
  • Nov 29, http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_112905.html

    Nov 22

  • http://pr.caltech.edu/media/Press_Releases/PR12767.html
  • http://www.news.utoronto.ca/bin6/051122-1839.asp
  • Nov 17 http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEM20VJBWFE_index_0.html

    Nov 16

  • http://www.lanl.gov/news/releases/archive/04-091.shtml
  • http://www.newsdesk.umd.edu/scitech/release.cfm?ArticleID=1168
  • Nov 10 http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/05/051110.auger.shtml

    Nov 09 http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2005/swift_award.html

    Nov 08

  • http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Swift11-2005.htm
  • http://www.ucsc.edu/news_events/press_releases/text.asp?pid=778
  • Nov 02 http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/05_releases/press_110205.html

    Nov 01 http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2005/nov/HQ_05353_massive_star.html

    Image releases from Chandra:

    April 06 http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2006/a400/

    March 23 http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2006/4c37/

    March 06 http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2006/n2841/

    Feb 15 http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2006/puppisa/

    Feb 03 http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2006/n5746/

    Jan 11 http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2006/cartwheel/

    Jan 10 http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2006/galaxies/

    Dec 28 http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2005/earth/

    Dec 15 http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2005/sn1006/

    Dec 01 http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2005/perseus/

    Nov 29 http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2005/sn70/

    Nov 15 http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2005/d316/

    Nov 02 http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2005/wd1/

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

    During the last six months, Chandra continued to operate with excellent spacecraft and science instrument performance. The mission will reach 7 years of operation on July 23 and retains significant (not life-limiting) long-term reserves of consumables. Chandra has continued operation without any major anomalies and has now gone for 6.3 years without a safe mode.

    The CXC mission planning staff continued to devote much effort to minimizing the effects of increasing spacecraft temperatures on the scheduled observing efficiency. The temperature increase is due in large part to the degradation of a layer of metalized Mylar insulation that provides Chandra's passive thermal control. During the last year a number of competing thermal constraints have resulted in a increased number of observations having to be split into multiple short duration segments. These allow the spacecraft to cool at preferred attitudes but results in a decreased schedule efficiency (down ~4% in the last year) and an increase in the complexity of data reduction for observers. Overall the schedule average efficiency since November was 63% compared with a maximum possible of ~70%.

    In working to address the problem, the engineering team has focused attention on constraints associated with the EPHIN (Electron Proton Helium Instrument) radiation detector. A study showed that EPHIN can operate safely at higher temperatures than previously assumed (up to 120F), and the Flight Director Board has approved increasing the maximum limit from 96F to 110F. The change has provided welcome relief to planners, the number of split observations has been dramatically reduced and the scheduled efficiency is now expected to increase.

    In order to minimize false triggers of the radiation detector caused by the higher EPHIN operating temperature, a flight software patch was installed that increases the trigger threshold of one of the electron detection channels (E1300) by a factor of two. The increased threshold will also reduce the number of false radiation safing events due to puffed-up radiation belts.

    A second flight software patch was installed to reduce excessive heating of the motor that drives the Science Instrument Module (SIM). The software modification causes the SIM to move only once during a radiation safing event. Previously, the SIM was moved twice, first to an intermediate position, to allow the HRC camera door to be closed, and then to the final HRC-S position. The two moves can cause excessive SIM motor temperature levels. The change was possible because the HRC door is no longer closed during radiation safing events.

    In other operational highlights, Chandra completed the 2006 winter eclipse season in January with nominal power and thermal performance. The aspect camera continues its excellent performance, with measurements of its dark current showing a nominal trend of increase in the number of warm pixels. High solar activity interrupted the observing schedule only once since November, and the schedule was replanned four times to accommodate fast turn-around Target of Opportunity (TOO) observations, with response times ranging from 1 to 3 days.

    Both the ACIS and HRC focal plane instruments have continued to operate well overall. A brief episode of anomalous telemetry was received from the HRC instrument in December. The anomalous data were seen in the secondary engineering portion of the telemetry stream and had no operational impact. No corruption of the X-ray event data was observed and the event is under investigation. The ACIS FI CCD CTI trend has continued at the expected rate of 2.5% per year and the BI CCD trend has continued at the expected rate of 0.5% per year and careful monitoring of the contamination build up on the Optical Blocking Filer indicates that the transmission at 0.7 keV has decreased by the expected ~1.0% over the last year.

    The processing, archiving and distribution of Chandra data has continued without difficulty, and the average time from target observation to data distribution has been maintained at approximately one day. The archive continues to grow at ~0.5 TB per year, with data retrievals remaining at ~200 to ~400 GB per month. In February a full reprocessing of the Chandra data was started. The reprocessing will incorporate the latest algorithms and calibration and is expected to increase the archive by ~1 TB upon completion next spring.

    A major milestone was passed by the Operations Control Center's ground team in November. The team successfully transitioned the ground system from the original Silicon Graphics computers to new machines using the Linux operating system. The new system has operated smoothly since the transition and will ensure long-term maintainability of the ground hardware and software. The team also took care to ensure that the 2005-2006 leap second had no impact on the ground system or mission operations.

    The Science Data System team released version 7.6.5 of the CXC Data System in support of the Cycle 8 Call for Proposals (CfP) in December, and issued updates in January and February to support the start of the archive re-processing in February. CIAO 3.3 was released in November and provided many tool upgrades and bug fixes, as well as Cycle 8 proposal support.

    The Chandra Press Office issued nine press releases and 19 image releases since November, including a NASA media telecon in April that described new calculations of the efficiency of black-hole energy production.

    The Cycle 8 CfP was issued on Dec 16. 723 observing proposals were received by the March 15 deadline, and the Peer Review is scheduled to begin on June 22 in Boston. The ninth Chandra Fellows peer review, held in January, considered a record 88 proposals for Chandra fellowships.

    We look forward to Chandra's 7th anniversary in July and the continuation of outstanding scientific return from the mission.

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    7. Chandra Fellows for 2006 -- Nancy Remage Evans

    This year we had a record number of 88 applications for Chandra Postdoctoral Fellowships. This year was the first time we had electronic applications. The list of new Fellows, their PhD institution and their host institution is provided below.

  • Carlos Badenes (Univ. Politecnica Catalunya, Rutgers)
  • Shane Davis (UC Santa Barbara, Institute forAdvanced Studies)
  • Jifeng Liu (University of Michigan, CfA)
  • Elena Rasia (Univ. Padova , University of Michigan)
  • Masahiro Tsujimoto (Kyoto University, Penn State)
  • Keep an eye on our web pages for information about the Chandra Fellows Symposium (Friday, October 13, 2006, at the Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA), and the annual Fellowship competition (November, 2006). The Chandra Fellows Symposium is open to all, and we encourage you to drop by to hear some exciting new X-ray results. For more information, see http://cxc.harvard.edu/fellows/

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    8. XMM-Newton Mission News - Randall Smith (NASA/GSFC) and Phil Plait (Sonoma State)

    The US XMM-Newton Guest Observer Facility (GOF) just completed the 2006 NASA Senior Review, which examined the mission's successes in the past two years and continued funding through 2010. The scientific report to the Senior Review is available at http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/FTP/xmm/doc/SR2006.pdf. Regarding the satellite itself, 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.

    Recent notable accomplishments include the release of the XMM Slew Survey which includes over 5000 sources covering over 6000 square degrees of sky based on EPIC pn observations. The catalogue includes source position, flux in three bands, possible identifications with known sources, and the source extent. In addition to the EPIC survey, The US XMM GOF has made data from Optical Monitor observations available through MAST ( http://archive.stsci.edu/xmm-om/). This catalogue includes source lists and images in several different filters, all produced using SAS v6.0. The source detection, photometry are done automatically, with astrometry matched against the standard Guide Star Catalogue. Finally, the US XMM GOF has released software to model the EPIC MOS particle background, available at http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xmm/xmmhp_xmmesas.html. This software models the quiescent particle background both spectrally and spatially for the EPIC MOS detectors, and produces output that can be used in standard tools such as XSPEC and ds9.

    The release of the Science Analysis System (SAS) 7.0 is expected in Summer of 2006, and will incorporate many enhancements. Users who do not wish to install SAS can now use the online XMM-Newton Science Archive (XSA v2.9 and above) to automatically reprocess observations to use the latest calibration; see the documentation for assistance. In addition, the US XMM GOF and the HEASARC will release within a few weeks an update to Hera which will generate EPIC responses on demand, with more features, such as generating exposure maps, to follow.

    The anticipated dates for the AO6 XMM-Newton proposals have been announced. The announcement is expected to be released on August 28, 2006, with a due date of October 6, 2006 at 12:00 UT. HEAD members should note that the proposed due date falls during the 2006 HEAD 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 Contemporary Laboratory Experiences in Astronomy (CLEA) activity "The Deaths of Stars and the Birth of the Elements" has been completed and is now in use. In this computer-based exercise http://xmm.sonoma.edu/edu/clea/index.html, high school and college students analyze realistically simulated X-ray spectra of a supernova remnant and determine the abundances of various elements in them. In the end, they will find that the elements necessary for life on Earth-the iron in their blood, the calcium in their bones- are created in these distant explosions. The XMM-Newton CLEA activity consists of a teacher manual and the software to model X-ray spectra from a supernova. The manual has instructions for the installation and execution of the activity, student worksheets, and extended information/activities for teachers. Project CLEA is based at Gettysburg College, and directed by Prof. Larry Marschall. This activity is one of the few CLEA labs that is not based on visible-light simulations. The XMM-Newton E/PO program sponsored an activity developed in partnership with the Space Place at JPL. "Black Hole Rescue" inspires students by reading an article about black holes, then engages them in learning how to spell the scientific words that they have read in the article. The students have to catch the letters before they are swallowed up by the black hole! Designed for elementary and middle-school students, the game has words at two different levels of difficulty and is available in both English and Spanish. Check it out at: http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/en/kids/blackhole/index.shtml

    Since November 2005 (the last newsletter), XMM-Newton Educator Ambassadors and E/PO professionals disseminated educational materials and XMM-Newton content at two different workshops, reaching 47 participants. (see: http://xmm.sonoma.edu/materials.html

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    9. INTEGRAL News - Christoph Winkler

    In November 2005, ESA's Science Programme Committee approved another extension of the INTEGRAL mission until 16 Dec 2010, subject to another usual status and performance review in fall 2007.

    INTEGRAL operations continue smoothly with the spacecraft, instruments and ground segment performing nominally. The successful 7th SPI annealing took place from 9-24 January. During this time interval, a ToO observation of 3C279 was scheduled among other observations. Directly after the annealing period, INTEGRAL undertook a series of four special observations using the Earth as an occulting device in order to study the cosmic diffuse high-energy background. A publication is in preparation. Further ToO observations were done in February and March for the new BHC XTE J1817-330. A ToO observation, together with XMM, on SGR 1900+14 was scheduled for April.

    As we are approaching the solar minimum, a slow increase of the instrumental background counting rates is observed. Work is in progress to re-allocate some TLM allocation in order to preserve the core scientific capabilities. The Villafranca antenna, which was used as back-up for Redu, will stop TM/TC services in 2007. Work is ongoing to assure a back- up option for the Redu station.

    The INTEGRAL AO-4 has been opened on 13 March, the proposal deadline was 21 April. It contains a prototype Key Programme with 2 Ms to be spent on the Galactic Centre region. The AO-4 observing cycle will begin on 16 August 2006 (12 months duration). Prior to the release of AO-5 the community will be invited to submit ideas for Key Programmes in a special AO in fall 2006.

    The number of refereed/non-refereed INTEGRAL scientific publications over the period 01 Dec 2002 until end February 2006 is 153/335.

    The findings of Diehl et al. on the 26Al line emission in the inner Galaxy and their determination of the core-collapse SN rate (Diehl et al., Nature 439, 45, 2006) has found a world-wide echo in the media, including in general news sources.

    Pian et al. (A&A 449, L21, 2006) report on INTEGRAL observations of a dramatic outburst of the blazar 3C 454.3 indicating inverse Compton scattering external to the broad line region.

    A hard tail up to 100 keV in the persistent emission from SGR 1900+14 has been detected by Gotz et al. (A&A , 449, L31, 2006) in the quiescent state of the source without bursts. A comparison with AXP spectra indicates different spectral behaviour between AXPs and SGR's, both types believed to be magnetars. Kuiper et al. (ApJ in press, 2006) have studied four AXP's combining INTEGRAL & RXTE data. They find exceptionally hard total emission and hard pulsed emission above 10 keV, exceeding spin-down power by a few orders of magnitude, and supporting the magnetar interpretation for AXPs but requiring a new mechanism for particle acceleration in the magnetospheres.

    Chenevez et al. (A&A 449, L5) report on an unusual thermonuclear burst from GX 3+1 which during the first few seconds resembles a normal type I X-ray burst but then shows an extended decay for ~30 minutes, but quite different from a superburst. Reanalysing archival data with the latest software, Sidoli et al. (A&A accepted) have found two previously unnoticed outbursts of IGR J11215-5952, which appears to be another Supergiant Fast X-ray Transient.

    SPI observations of SN1006 provide a new upper limit on the SN Ia 511 keV annihilation radiation ruling out the possibility that SN Ia supernovae produce all of the positrons in the Galaxy if the mean positron lifetime is less than 100 ky (Kalemci et al., ApJ 640, L55, 2006).

    Over 180 abstracts have been received for the 6th INTEGRAL workshop, "The Obscured Universe" which will take place 2-8 July 2006, in IKI, Moscow, Russia (see http://hea.iki.rssi.ru/integral06 for workshop and programme details)

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

    The Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) Small Explorer mission continues healthy, although radiation damage continues to take its toll on its detectors, particularly for high-resolution studies of gamma-ray lines. We expect to anneal the detectors to repair this damage sometime this year.

    In addition to the many new RHESSI preprints on solar results in the archive at Montana State University ( http://solar.physics.montana.edu/cgi-bin/eprint/default_page.pl), there is a colorful and wide-ranging set of "RHESSI Science Nuggets" being posted periodically. These short reports are casual in style, well-illustrated, and suitable for a general scientific audience. The site is run by editor Hugh Hudson and webmaster Steven Christe of U. C. Berkeley. The URL is: http://sprg.ssl.berkeley.edu/~tohban/nuggets and occasionally non-solar items are featured as well.

    A very exciting non-solar result comes from a new analysis of RHESSI data on the hyperflare of SGR 1806-20 on December 27, 2004. Watts and Strohmayer (2006, ApJL 637, L117) found a series of quasi-periodic oscillations in the pulsing tail of the event. In addition to confirming QPOs in the range of tens of Hz found by Israel et al. (2005, ApJL, 628, L53), Watts and Strohmayer found a pulse-phase-dependent QPO at 626.5 Hz, suggesting a higher-order crustal mode that would take far more energy to excite.

    Many RHESSI solar results will be discussed at the next meeting of the Solar Physics Division of the AAS, in Durham, NH from June 25 to 30, 2006.

    A status report on RHESSI non-solar astrophysics is being prepared for the 6th INTEGRAL workshop in Moscow, July 2 to 8. We hope for a good set of presentations at this year's HEAD meeting as well.

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    11. Swift Mission News - Christopher Wanjek, Padi Boyd and Phil Plait

    The Swift spacecraft and instruments continue to perform well and return exciting new science results across a broad range of topics, including short and long gamma ray bursts, supernovae in nearby galaxies, galactic transients, AGN, comets, and follow-ups on BAT-detected sources. During Swift's Cycle 1 and Cycle 2 Guest Investigator rounds, over 100 GIs have participated in Swift science. Swift results have been presented at numerous science meetings, in refereed publications, and appeared in the popular press. Key discoveries and highlights include:

    - Arcsec localizations for short GRBs, leading to discovery that the progenitors may be the merger of compact objects, unlike long burst progenitors.

    - Detection of many high-redshift GRBs, including one at z=6.29. The Swift long GRBs average redshift is 2.7 compared to 1.2 from pre- Swift bursts. The Swift sample is more complete, thus tracing more of the star formation rate in the universe.

    - Detection of a GRB 060218 at z=0.033, coincident with SN2006aj, providing the most complete lightcurve of a SN Ib/c.

    - Surprising early afterglow lightcurve phenomena (e.g. rapid decays and large flares), implying that the central engine remains active ten times longer than previously thought.

    - Unique observations of SNe, filling voids in our understanding by probing UV and X-ray emission during the early stage (days) after the outburst. Dense sampling of light curves has been done by Swift for a dozen SNe.

    - The most sensitive hard X-ray sky survey to date, finding over 100 AGN, including the elusive class of absorbed Sy 2's.

    Since the launch of Swift, there have been 97 publications in refereed journals that relate to Swift (list at http://swift.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/swift/results/publist/). These papers include 35 with a Swift team member as first author and 62 with a first author outside the team. The large number of Swift papers by non-team authors is striking evidence of the mission's impact in the science community. Note that seven published papers have been in Nature or Science, one of the largest numbers for any mission in a single year.

    The Swift Cycle 3 call for proposals (part of ROSES-2006) has been expanded to allow limited target of opportunity (ToOs) observations to be proposed. Proposals should capitalize on Swift's unique capabilities for rapid, multi-wavelength response. As with all Swift data, no proprietary data rights will be granted, but PIs will be allowed to triggeraccepted ToO targets that meet the trigger conditions,and will be awarded funding to carry out the proposed investigations. Observation-only proposals will also be permitted from non-US PIs. ToO requests for exceptional transient opportunities will continue to be accepted through the Swift ToO web site even for ToO's not accepted into the GI program. We expect the Swift ToO program to be heavily oversubscribed based on the wide array of unique ToO observations made by Swift in its first year, including SNe on the rise in nearby galaxies, the Deep Impact collision with Comet Tempel 1, transient outbursts of galactic black hole candidates, and flaring active galaxies.

    Swift Cycle 3 proposals are due July 28, 2006. The review is tentatively planned to take place in early October in San Francisco just prior to the HEAD meeting. For more information on the Swift Cycle 3 GI program, the exciting Swift science program, access to data, software and documentation, or to volunteer to be a peer reviewer, visit the Swift Web site at http://swift.gsfc.nasa.gov

    Swift E/PO News

    Midway through its second year of normal operations for Swift, the Sonoma State University Swift E/PO group continues to support the mission. Several milestones were passed since the last HEAD newsletter; including Swift's first anniversary in orbit, and its 100th observed GRB-- GRB 060108A.

    The E/PO group has published the third and fourth quarterly newsletters, designed to keep scientists and the public updated on the latest Swift news. The newsletters open with a note from PI Neil Gehrels, and have articles by Swift scientists about recent discoveries, updates on the Swift Science Center and Mission Operations Center, links to news articles featuring Swift, and articles about the education and amateur astronomy connection. The newsletters are online (in both HTML and PDF) at http://swift.sonoma.edu/resources/multimedia/newsletter/index.html.

    The real-time all-sky GRB (http://grb.sonoma.edu"> http://grb.sonoma.edu/>http://grb.sonoma.edu ) page is still going strong, with about 70,000 unique visits since November 2005. The page displays all the GRBs detected by Swift, INTEGRAL, and other gamma-ray satellites as they send out notices to the Gamma-Ray Coordinates Network.

    As usual, Prof. Lynn Cominsky helped prepare several Swift press releases, and ran a session at the St. Louis American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in St. Louis in February, 2006, featuring Swift (and other) observations of the SGR 1806-20 magnetar superflare of December, 2004.

    The planetarium show "Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity" premiered at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (see the GLAST E/PO entry for details). The show features Swift, showing the launch and describing its mission to detect the births of black holes.

    Since November 2005 (the last newsletter), Swift Educator Ambassadors and E/PO professionals disseminated educational materials and Swift content at 19 different workshops, reaching 879 participants.

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

    The Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) has now passed it's first decade in orbit, and continues its workman-like service to the high energy astrophysics community. The Stage 1 review of 128 proposals submitted for RXTE Cycle 11 took place in November 2005. The proposals and targets that were recommended to NASA Headquarters by the review panel are now available online at http://rxte.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/timeline/cycle11_targets.html. Proposals have been received for the Stage 2 (budget) round and are now in the process of being reviewed. A total of 59 budgets were received for Guest Observer funding. We expect to release the results of the budget review in early summer.

    The Cycle 11 observing program is currently well underway. This would be the last official observing cycle pending an extension by NASA through the 2006 Senior Review process. The RXTE users group (RUG) made its "pitch" to the Senior Review panel on Wednesday, April 26, 2006. Many thanks go to RUG chairman Fred Lamb (Univ. Illinois), project scientist Jean Swank (NASA/GSFC), and RXTE user Jon Miller (Univ. Michigan) for presenting the case for extending the mission. We also thank all RXTE users and friends whose science results helped us make a strong case for continuing the mission.

    In summarizing the impact of RXTE on high energy astrophysics the users group was able to identify a total of 49 RXTE-related PhD theses dating from 1997 to the present. This seemed an astounding number to us and will likely represent one of the most important legacies of RXTE. A list of the RXTE theses can be found at http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/whatsnew/xte_phds.html. The most recent RXTE-related PhD thesis was written by Fotis Gavriil while at McGill University and now a NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) fellow at NASA/GSFC, on "Magnetar-like X-ray Bursts from Anomalous X-ray Pulsars." The list also includes recent Rossi Prize awardee Rudy Wijnand's (Univ. of Amsterdam) thesis on, "Millisecond phenomena in X-ray binaries."

    RXTE's 10th Anniversary was celebrated with a party on the evening of January 12th at the NASA/GSFC recreation center and a symposium of science talks on January 13th also at NASA/GSFC. Both events were well attended and by all accounts a good time was had by all. The symposium covered many aspects of RXTE science with both reviews and new results being presented, and concluded with Fred Lamb's Goddard Scientific Colloquium, "The Impact of Rossi XTE on General Relativistic and High Energy Astrophysics." The full program of science talks can be found at http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/whatsnew/bday_conf_agenda.html. We will be updating this link with slides from each of the talks in the near future. The availability of the slides will be announced on the RXTE webpage ( http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/xte_1st.html).

    Science Highlights:

    RXTE continues its high rate of scientific discoveries. All of its intruments remain stable and are performing well. Recent months have been noteworth for a new outburst from the Soft Gamma-ray Repeater (SGR) SGR 1900+14, including a "storm" of burst events on March 29, 2006; an eruption of the recurrent, symbiotic nova RS Oph; the discovery of an SGR-like burst from another anomalous X-ray pulsar (AXP 4U 0142+61); and continued monitoring of a recently discovered transient Z-source, XTE J1701-462, and the new black hole candidate XTE J1817-330.

    On March 25, 2006, renewed burst activity from SGR 1900+14 was reported by the Swift Burst Alert Telescope (BAT, GCN 4922, Atel 774). This was the first recurrence of burst activity from SGR 1900+14 since late 2002, and it triggered an extensive set of RXTE follow-up observations; to study bursts, monitor for changes in the spin-down rate of this magnetar, and to correlate such changes with properties of the persistent and burst emission. Analayses of the data are in progress. In other magnetar news, using RXTE observations of AXP 4U 0142+61, Vicki Kaspi (McGill Univ.) and collaborators have found an SGR-like burst from this anomalous X-ray pulsar (Atel 794). The burst resembles the weakest event seen from AXP 1E 1048-5937, and further strengthens the connections between SGRs and AXPs. Interestingly, Spitzer observations have recently discovered a debris disk around this object (Wang, Chakrabarty & Kaplan, 2006, Nature, 440, 772).

    Two bright transients have been the object of careful RXTE scrutiny over the last few months. Both were found in January, 2006 by the RXTE All Sky Monitor (ASM). XTE J1701-462 was found first (Atel. 696, 700, 703), and XTE 1817-330 appeared 10 days later (Atel 714, 743). XTE J1701-462 was discovered with a flux near 500 mCrab, and reached a peak near 900 mCrab. Initial timing studies founds QPOs near 6 and 55 Hz (Atel. 703). Subsequently, more extensive RXTE observations have been studied by Jeroen Homan (MIT) and colleagues. They suggested the source most closely resembles the bright neutron star LMXBs known as "Z" sources, which would make the object the first known transient in this class (all others are persistent X-ray sources). In February, having dimmed by about a factor of 2, the source showed indications of kHz QPO behavior (Atel 748). RXTE will continue to follow the source as it declines in flux. Of particular interest is to determine if its timing and spectral properties begin to resemble those of the lower luminosity, Atoll class of neutron star LMXBs.

    XTE J1817-330 was also very bright when discovered, with a flux near 1 Crab. PCA scanning observations determined an arcminute position, and found the source with a very soft spectrum, typical of black hole binaries in the "high-soft" state (Atel. 714). Radio, near IR, and optical counterparts were then rapidly found (Atel. 721, 724, 733). RXTE, Chandra and optical spectroscopy indicate that the absorbing column to the source is relatively modest (Atel. 743, 746 749), and that the source should be an excellent target for quiescent optical studies to deduce the black hole mass. Further RXTE observations revealed timing and spectral variability characteristic of black hole binaries (Atel. 752).

    In early February, 2006 the recurrent nova RS Oph was found to be in outburst (IAUC 8671). RXTE TOO observations by Jennifer Sokolowski (SAO) and collaborators detected the source out to 25 keV and also saw a strong Fe line. They suggested the observed plasma temperature of about 10 keV is consistent with shock heating of the nebular material by fast moving ejecta (Atel. 737). Subsequent observations found a decreasing flux and plasma temperature, consisent with deceleration of the ejecta (Atel. 741). Swift/XRT observations have been studying the supersoft X-ray spectrum.

    In a result capitalizing on RXTE's longevity and well calibrated background, Mikhail Revnivtsev (MPA, Garching) and colleagues at MPA and the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow have used 10 years of RXTE slew data to create an image of the Galactic X-ray background. They found that the RXTE image spatially matches the distribution in the infrared obtained by NASA's COBE mission. The strong spatial correlation suggests that the X-ray emission observed with RXTE traces the galactic stellar mass distribution. Most of the X-rays are then attributed to discrete sources, the bulk of which are thought to be cataclysmic variables and stars with active coronae. Details can be found at http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/starsgalaxies/milkyway_map.html and in Sazonov et al. 2006, A&A, 450, 117.

    RXTE GOF Update:

    The GOF has recently added a new feature for RXTE proposals to the HEASARC archive, and is conveniently linked into the Browse archive query interface. The table of results of a Browse query now includes links to HEXTE merged light curves for each target in a proposal, in addition to the previously available PCA merged light curves. These light curves are available as FITS files and as GIF graphic files that are easily Browsed with the click of a mouse. Now you can see instantly whether your favorite source displays significant time variability in both PCA and HEXTE, right on your Browse results screen. Try it out by typing the name or coordinates of a source of interest and choosing the RXTE archive at: http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/archive.html

    RXTE Education and Public Outreach:

    The RXTE Education and Public Outreach efforts continue to reach students, educators and the general public by capitalizing on the exciting objects of RXTE's core science--- black holes, neutron stars, and active galaxies and the extremes of physics---to engage the target audience and set the stage for science, techology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning. Over the past year, we have worked with a teacher intern from NASA Explorer School Anne Beers Elementary to design and present an educator workshop based on the High Energy Groovie Movie and associated activities at http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/outreach/HEG/groovie.html

    This workshop was presented to several groups of teachers visiting NASA, and as part of Washington DC's STEM summit. For the school year beginning in Fall 2006, we will continue to present this workshop to local educator groups and regional science teachers' meetings, as well as capitalize on a new partnership with the H. B. Owens Science Center in Lanham, MD. The Owens Science Center, part of the Prince Georges Public School System in Maryland, is home to a Challenger Learning Center as well as a planetarium, and both are used in student enrichment programs daily during the regular school year. With the educator staff we are working to incorporate core RXTE science into the 6-8th grade planetarium shows, and as part of a learning module used in the Challenger Learning Center. Our RXTE education goals link directly to NASA's desired outcomes of 1) attracting and retaining students in STEM disciplines through a progression of educational opportunities for students, teachers and faculty and 2) building strategic partnerships and linkages between STEM formal and informal education providers that promote STEM literacy and awareness of NASA's mission.

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

    For the Cycle 1 resolicitation, the US astronomical community submitted 164 Suzaku observing proposals to NASA, for an oversubscription rate of more than a factor of 4. The competition was similarly strong in Japan and at ESA. After the national reviews and international merging meeting, the final target list was posted on the web in mid March ( http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/suzaku/tlminfo/ao1list.html). US PIs will receive individual e-mails shortly with the peer review panel evaluations; additionally, e-mails to the successful PIs will include an invitation to submit a Stage 2 (budget) proposals.

    Meanwhile, GO observations have already started. The operations team at ISAS (via the Suzaku GOF for US proposals) is contacting PIs several weeks prior to their observations to verify and/or fine-tune key observing parameters. Timely replies are appreciated and will help guarantee a smooth operation of the observatory. The data processing teams at ISAS and the GOF are making final preparations for the distribution of processed data to GOs, as well as of the public release of Suzaku FTOOLS and calibration files.

    Preliminary results from the Science Working Group phase of the mission (2005 August - 2006 March) have already been presented at various meetings. HEAD members are invited to attend the special session during the Calgary AAS meeting (Tuesday morning, June 6), when a series of seven invited talks will highlight the early results from Suzaku. We also expect the first refereed publications based on Suzaku data to start appearing shortly, culminating in a special issue of Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan in late 2006.

    Several months after launch it was observed that the throughput of the XIS cameras had dropped significantly. At about 600 eV, corresponding to the O K region, the effective area had gone down by about a factor of two, and to a varying degree in each of the four XIS modules. The loss in throughput is almost certainly due to contamination that has accumulated on the optical blocking filters and not the sensors themselves or the x-ray optics. Spectral analysis indicates that the contamination is predominantly composed of carbon. A monitoring program has been initiated to track contamination. In parallel with this, laboratory tests in the US and Japan were devised to assess the feasibility and risk of elevating the temperature of the XIS camera modules to drive off the contamination. Fortunately, during the past few months the rate of contaminant accumulation has dropped significantly (by a factor of two or so). The plan therefore is to continue to monitor the contamination level with periodic observations of the the SNR E0102-72 (once per 2-3 weeks) and prepares for a decision point in July. The goal is to execute any countermeasures prior to the August call for Cycle 2 observing proposals.

    The Suzaku E/PO program has introduced a newsletter for teachers, "Suzaku News You Can Use". This 2-page newsletter features information about the mission, objects that Suzaku studies, a brief history x-ray astronomy, and teacher resources. There is even a quiz question! Future issues will include a "Meet the Crew" feature in which teachers can get to know members of the Suzaku team. The newsletter is developed in collaboration with Patrick Keeney, a high schoolteacher in Pennsylvania. The newsletter is distributed via email, and on the web at: http://suzaku-epo.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/astroe_lc/newsletter/suznuz.html

    SN1006 anniversary celebration!

    The Suzaku E/PO program offered a new opportunity, which opened the doors of research to a team of highly motivated high-school students. In 2005, prior to launch, we advertised a nation-wide call for observing proposals from high-school teams to use data from Suzaku. We reviewed 20 proposals written by teams involving more than 80 students. The winning team was a group of eight high school students from Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco who worked with their teacher, Dr. Mark Hurwitz, to write a proposal for a supernova remnant. With agreement from the Suzaku Science Working Group, we sent them the data for SN 1006 in January 2006. Five of the students will be present at the upcoming AAS meeting in Calgary and Cyrus Stoller will present the result of their analysis in the special Suzaku session on Tuesday morning (session 35). Don't miss an opportunity to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of the remnant and ask questions about their experience working on Suzaku data.

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    14. GLAST News -- - Steven Ritz and Phil Plait

    Great progress is being made in all areas of the mission, as excitement continues to build toward launch in the Fall next year. Highlights include:

    The GLAST Burst Monitor (GBM) construction, integration, and system testing are complete. The GBM is now undergoing environmental testing at MSFC, with delivery to General Dynamics (Spectrum Astro) expected in early summer.

    The Large Area Telescope (LAT) construction and integration are complete. System testing at SLAC is near completion, with shipment to NRL for environmental testing in early May. Delivery to General Dynamics is expected this summer.

    A very successful Mission Operations Review was held at Goddard in March. Integrated mission launch planning is also ongoing.

    We are moving forward with the First GLAST Symposium, to be held at Stanford University during the week of 5 February 2007. In addition to sessions covering a wide variety of science topics, workshops for Guest Investigators will be conducted by the GLAST Science Support Center (GSSC) in advance of the first proposal cycle. GLAST-related sessions are also being planned for the HEAD and AAS meetings.

    There have been periodic SWG and Users Committee telecons, with the next Users Committee face-to-face meeting at Goddard 8-9 May.

    The second Data Challenge (DC2), involving the LAT, GBM, and GSSC teams, is in full swing. Fifty-five days of all-sky survey observations have been simulated, using a very detailed (and secret) sky model. Both signal photons and backgrounds (~5 billion events) have been generated and passed through a high-fidelity LAT simulation and event reconstruction. GBM data for GRBs are also included. Team members access and analyze the data in the planned formats using the high-level science tools under development. The DC2 kickoff meeting was held at SLAC in early March, with the closeout meeting -- when the "truth" will be revealed -- at Goddard in late May. This is the second in a series of data challenges, which may be thought of as a very effective alpha testing of the end-to-end system. Members of the Users Committee will participate in a beta test of the system this Fall.

    Work is ramping up across the LAT collaboration for the beam test of the calibration unit at CERN in July and August. The next LAT collaboration meeting will be held Aug. 28

    GLAST E/PO News

    The big news for GLAST E/PO is that the planetarium program "Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity" ( http://glast.sonoma.edu/teachers/blackholes/) premiered at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS). Thomas Lucas, the producer and director, along with DMNS used GLAST seed money to obtain NSF funding to create the program. The show, narrated by Liam Neeson, takes the viewer on a stunning tour of black holes, featuring scientific visualizations by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Instead of artists' illustrations, this full-dome, totally digital high-resolution program uses the results from advanced supercomputer calculations to display accurate representations of such fantastic scenes as a trip through the Milky Way, two galaxies colliding over the course of billions of years, the first stars in the Universe forming (and subsequently exploding), and, finally, the last plunge you'll ever take -- the fall into the supermassive black hole in the center of the Galaxy. The show was attended by more than 30,000 people in the first six weeks of its run at DMNS. E/PO program manager Sarah Silva teamed up with Sharon Unkart, the Teacher Programs Coordinator for DMNS to put together a teacher's workshop to go along with the public premier of "Black Holes," complete with an Educator Guide loaded with black hole activities for students. Also, Education Resource Director Philip Plait wrote an article about the show for The Planetarian, the journal of the International Planetarium Society, and it will be the cover article in their September 2006 issue. The companion television program "The Monster of the Milky Way," is also due to air as a PBS NOVA show in September.

    The Global Telescope network (GTN; http://gtn.sonoma.edu) is growing. New members have joined from South America and Australia, strengthening the global aspect of this consortium. The GLAST Optical Robotic Telescope, or GORT, continues to make observations of high-energy astronomical targets in support of the GLAST mission. The GTN is also supporting a series of educational activities given by SSU group member Tim Graves to students attending the Roseland University Prep Charter high school in Santa Rosa, California. Students at RUP were also thrilled to learn that local amateur astronomer Steve Wishny donated a 10" Newtonian reflector telescope to them for their use.

    Since November 2005 (the last newsletter), GLAST Educator Ambassadors and E/PO professionals disseminated educational materials and GLAST content at 32 different workshops, reaching 1065 participants.

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    15. Constellation X Mission News -- - Jay Bookbinder, Ann Hornschemeier, and Michael Garcia

    This has been an eventful six months for the Con-X project. While we'd like to start with the technical highlights of the year, it's unfortunate that the President's FY07 budget request in February, and the updating of the NASA FY06 operating plan have become a major concern. The FY07 Beyond Einstein budget is currently projected to be $21.5M (only 25% of our expectation at this time last year), with Con-X probably receiving about $4.5M of this amount. The current FY06 budget was reduced from about $9.5M to about $4.5M this February. As a result, many of the milestones for FY06 have become, as best, goals for the year, or pushed out into even later years. In particular, the Technology NRA for instrument development that was planned for the Spring of FY06 has now been deferred. The goal had been to advance technologies to high TRL levels, and bring in new ideas and approaches for the instruments. The key paragraph of the budget stated that: ?0;The Beyond Einstein program budget reflects an indefinite deferral of the start of development of the LISA and Constellation-X mission activities. Technology and science studies will continue with the goal of selecting a mission for development later this decade (including the Joint Dark Energy Mission).

    A letter summarizing the FY07 budget issues has been sent to the FST, outlining an advocacy approach for those who are interested. The letter can be downloaded from: ftp://sao-ftp.harvard.edu/pub/transfer/jbookbinder/FST1.pdf

    On more positive notes, we started off 2006 with a very well attended Town Hall meeting at the January AAS - nearly 300 people participated - and we followed that up with a Facility Science Team meeting in February. The presentations from the FST meeting are available on the website at: https://conxproj.gsfc.nasa.gov (then go to Resources --> Meetings).

    One of the highlights of the last six months has been the Con-X team effort to define a less expensive mission implementation using a single Delta-IVH launch vehicle as opposed to the baseline of two Atlas-V vehicles (with 2 spacecraft per vehicle). Numerous configurations were considered, with focal lengths ranging from 10m (the current baseline) to 25m and number of telescopes varying between one and four. In November 2005 the Con-X team selected the most promising configuration, which turned out to be very similar to our original design. This configuration, the "10-4" (10m focal length, 4 telescopes), has now been designed in more detail (full thermal design, costing, etc.) and is in the process of being adopted as our new baseline mission. Some detail about this single launch option is available in the Single Launch Configuration presentations on the aforementioned website.

    The Con-X science team, led by Mike Garcia, Ann Hornschemeier and Divas Sanwal and with support from the Facility Science Team, has been updating the Science Requirements Document, based in large measure on the Science with Constellation-X booklet (also on the Resources section of the website). We have begun our studies of the radiation environment at L2, leveraging off of the radiation study being conducted by JWST. Divas Sanwal took the experience of Chandra, XMM-Newton, and other X-ray missions and applied it to the Con-X mission plan in order to evaluate observing efficiency (we estimate that 85% observing efficiency is feasible). Divas also conducted some important work on the radiation environment at L2, calculating anticipated particle background rates of the spacecraft.

    The SXT team was well underway to having an X-ray test of a mirror pair at MSFC in the summer, but this effort, as with many others, has been significantly delayed due to the budget issues. Individual mirror segment fabrications have come a long way, with Will Zhang and his team producing segments that are very close to the flight requirements, suggesting that it may be possible to improve the process to the point where epoxy replication is no longer required, saving money and improving performance.

    On other technology development fronts, substantial progress has been made by the calorimeter groups in achieving the required energy resolution at both 1.5 and 6 keV. 8x8 arrays are also being routinely fabricated that have both high QE and filling factors. While the launch of the Suzaku calorimeter proved that the calorimeter concept works in a space environment, demonstrating the expected energy resolution, stable gain, the low-temperature anti-coincidence detector concept, and the lack of radiation effects on the microcalorimeter array - its early loss was a blow to the entire community.

    On the Grating/CCD team, MIT has generated patterned gratings of the required size and line ruling density, while Colorado has fabricated a holographic radial groove grating with high line density. Unfortunately, the plans to upgrade the MIT facility to produce the desired radial groove pattern, planned for FY06, have been pushed out because of the budget issues described below. On the CCD front, two more lots of event-driven CCDs have been fabricated, and the high-yield chemisorption process has been demonstrated, as have improvements to the molecular beam epitaxy approach.

    The HXT team has also made progress on both the glass and nickel mirrors- the HEFT mirrors have flown following the HERO and InFOCUS flights, and demonstrating that glass optics that meet the mass and performance requirements, while two thin (100 and 150 microns) nickel-shell optics have undergone an X-ray test showing resolution that exceeds the requirements. Caltech's CdZnTe detectors have now flown on HEFT, and meet our requirements.

    The Integrated Product Team (IPT) Leads have completed their work (with many thanks for their outstanding efforts to Fiona Harrison, Kathy Flanagan, and Rich Kelley) and we welcomed aboard the Instrument Scientists: Ann Parsons for the HXT, Jean Cottam for the Gratings/CCDs, and Rick Shafer for the Calorimeter. Ann Hornschemeier was formally appointed as Deputy Project Scientist in August 2005, after serving in an acting capacity from October 2004-July 2005. Rob Petre was named as a Deputy Project Scientist in March 2006.

    Lastly, EPO efforts continued at the AAS meeting, where we distributed a set of spectroscopy glasses with diffraction gratings in the "lenses" and included text on X-ray spectroscopy inside. These were a big hit with the crowd, with visitors to the Con-X booth taking away 1000 pairs of these glasses. These Constellation-X glasses are available to school groups in small quantities (30-50 per request) via the Con-X web site. A one-page top-level summary of Con-X science and technologies was also handed out at this meeting. The AAS posters, the Town Hall presentations, the one page summary, Chris Reynold?7;s Warner Prize lecture (which mentions Con-X prominently) can be found at the main Con-X web site (constellation.gsfc.nasa.gov) under Resources -> Presentations and Resources->Mission Documents. The Con-X team hopes you will find these posters, presentations, and handouts useful in your discussions about Con-X.

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    16. MEETINGS -- (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, http://www.confcon.com/head2006/head06.php



    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



    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



    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, Moscow, Russia

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

    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.


    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.

    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


    XXVI IAU General Assembly

    August 14 - August 25, 2006, Prague, Czech Republic http://www.astronomy2006.com/


    The Role of Black Holes in Galaxy Formation and Evolution

    September 10 - September 13, 2006, Potsdam, Germany http://www.aip.de/thinkshop4


    Recent Developments in the Study of Gamma-ray Bursts September 18 - September 20, Royal Society, London, England http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/grbmeeting


    Radiation Backgrounds from the First Stars, Galaxies and Black Holes (9-11 October 2006, College Park, Maryland) http://www.astro.umd.edu/october/


    Extragalactic Surveys:A Chandra Science Workshop (6-8 November 2006, Cambridge, MA) http://cxc.harvard.edu/xsurveys06


    The Suzaku Conference: The Extreme Universe in the Suzaku Era ( 4 - 8 December, 2006, Kyoto, Japan) http://www-cr.scphys.kyoto-u.ac.jp/conference/suzaku2006/

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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@cfa.harvard.edu, Updated May 22, 2006