ELECTRONIC NEWSLETTER OF THE HIGH ENERGY
ASTROPHYSICS DIVISION OF THE AAS
Newsletter No. 70 May 1997
- Notes from the Editor
- Upcoming HEAD Meeting in Estes Park, CO, in November
- Other Meetings
- Notes from NASA Headquarters
- RXTE Guest Observer Program: Proposal Due date Sept.
- RXTE News
- August 1997 Multiwavelength Campaign for EGRET Blazar
Notes from the Editor
(Alan Marscher, HEAD Secretary-Treasurer, email@example.com; phone: 617-353-5029)
apologize for the lateness of the May 1997 HEAD Newsletter, which is actually being
sent out in mid-June. But, I appeal to your sympathy for the new guy on the block. After a
few months of sorting through all the material inherited from my predecessor, Kevin Hurley
(whom we should all thank for 3 hard-working years in a thankless job), I think that I
have the system figured out and most of the e-mail addresses up to date.
The new HEAD Web site is at http://bu-ast.bu.edu/~head. Please check it out and let me
know if you notice something that is missing. I will review it monthly to check for
outdated items, etc., so please don't e-mail me about these, since I don't want to be
inundated by e-mail from many of our > 700 members! Among several useful items on the
Web page is a membership list. For many members, this list contains e-mail addresses that
are more up to date than found in the AAS Membership Directory.
We also have an e-mail exploder for announcements of general interest to HEAD members.
If you have an item that you would like to announce in this way, please contact me and I
will send you the e-mail address of the exploder.
If you receive a hard-copy of this newsletter but did not receive an electronic
version, yet you have an e-mail address, please send me e-mail so that I can update your
address. Thanks - I find that keeping current with the e-mail addresses is the most
frustrating aspect of this job.
I was sorry to learn of the recent death of Bud Jacobson, who suffered a fatal heart
attack. Bud was a Rossi Prize recipient, the long-time leader of the gamma-ray effort at
JPL, and a very nice person.
HEAD holds its own meeting once every 1.5 years, with the next one only 5 months away,
in Estes Park, Colorado. Information is given below.
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Upcoming HEAD Meeting in Estes Park, CO, in
John Vallergo of Eureka Scientific is in charge of the arrangements for the
Fall 1997 HEAD meeting, which will be held November 4-7, 1997, at the Stanley Hotel in
Estes Park, Colorado
For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org,
Please remember that HEAD had a press officer (Lynn Cominsky) and deputy press officer
(Paul Hertz). They will be active with press releases at the Estes Park meeting.
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25th International Cosmic Ray Conference, Durban, South Africa, July 28 - August 8,
Contact: email@example.com or http://www.puk.ac.za/fskdocs/icrc97
23rd General Assembly of the IAU, Kyoto, Japan, August 18-30, 1997. A Joint
Discussion on High Energy Transients will be part of the program, as well as a symposium
on hot astrophysical plasmas, five other symposia, and about 15 joint discussions, on a
wide range of astronomical topics. Anyone interested in presenting a paper or poster
should contact Virginia Trimble, chair of the SOC (firstname.lastname@example.org).
4th Huntsville Symposium on Gamma-Ray Bursts, Huntsville, Alabama, September 15-19,
Contact:: C. Meegan (email@example.com)
Symposium: "The Active X-Ray Sky. Results from Beppo-SAX and Rossi-XTE" Rome,
Italy, October 22-24, 1997.
Contact: Symposium Helpdesk (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Notes from NASA Headquarters
The May 1997 NASA Strategic Planning Retreat is now behind us. This exercise, organized
by NASA's Office of Space Science (OSS), had as its main goal reaching a community
consensus on a plan for budget initiatives in the next few years (augmentations and
"new starts" in the FY 2000 - 2004 period), as well as developing a long term
"roadmap" of needed space science missions over a period stretching out to about
The meeting took place at Breckenridge, Colorado, and involved some 75 scientists,
science communication experts, and Administration officials.
The new OSS strategic plan is designed around the theme of "Origins, Evolution,
and Destiny," a theme that encompasses all of space science and serves astrophysics
quite well. The basis for the plan is a set of broad fundamental questions and goals that
were critiqued and edited by the retreat attendees. Wes Huntress, Associate Administrator
for Space Science, put forward a strawman mission set that contained missions in four
categories: (1) the existing (funded) program, (2) initiatives in the President's FY 1998
budget (and understood to be continued in the "out years"), (3) additional,
proposed new starts and augmentations up through 2004, (4) proposed missions beyond 2004.
Category 2 includes "Origins" program enhancements, including funding for the
Keck Interferometer, Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST), Space Interferometer Mission
(SIM), an enhanced Mars program, an Outer Planets mission line, technology augmentations
for "Origins" and planetary missions, and an Astrobiology R&A program.
Category 2 initiatives are considered almost "sold" to Congress. Category
3 includes new starts for the Gamma Ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) in FY 2001, the
High Throughput X-ray Spectroscopy mission (HTXS) in FY 2004, a Solar Terrestrial Probe
series, an OSS-wide international missions of opportunity line beginning with funding for
a U.S. role in ESA's Far Infrared and Submillimetre Telescope (FIRST) beginning in FY
2000, and an MO&DA augmentation for an extended mission for AXAF (beyond the nominal 5
year life). (Funding for a modest U.S. role in ESA's Planck mission is already in the
budget.) Category 3 initiatives are part of the core of the new OSS strategic plan but are
NOT sold in terms of any acceptance by the Administration or Congress. Category 4 includes
Advanced Radio Interferometry between Space and Earth (ARISE), Laser Interferometer Space
Antenna (LISA), and the Orbiting array of Wide-angle Light collectors (OWL), all of which
are currently funded mission concept studies.
OSS initiatives in category 3 will have to compete for new funds alongside other NASA
initiatives in such areas as new launch vehicles, aeronautics, technology initiatives,
etc. Further, missions in categories 2 and 3 will only get Phase C/D starts after they
have demonstrated technological and cost readiness.
In short, we have an OSS strategic plan that is inclusive of most of the priorities set
by the community and documented by the Structure and Evolution of the Universe
Subcommittee (SEUS) and the Search for Origins Subcommittee and their respective Roadmap
documents. Cosmology and black holes are included explicitly in the strategic plan's
fundamental questions and implicitly in the OSS mission statement. The Roadmap also
emphasizes the past success and future promise of the Explorer program.
The elements of the draft OSS strategic plan can be viewed on the OSS web page at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/oss/strategy/plan1.htm.
The Science roadmap created by the SEUS (under the capable leadership of Roger
Blandford) can be viewed at: http://www.srl.caltech.edu/seus/roadmap
The corresponding SEU Technology roadmap and mission portfolio can be found at: http://www.srl.caltech.edu/seus/roadmap/appendixA
Next steps in the realization of these plans for FY 2000-2004 include solidifying the
technology funding that has been identified as necessary for the advent of FIRST, GLAST,
and HTXS. Pre-Project Offices have been formed (at JPL for FIRST; at GSFC for GLAST and
HTXS) to guide the current phase of these studies.
All of us are hopeful that the space science community will rally behind this plan and
press our friends at OSTP and OMB and in Congress for its implementation.
Alan.Bunner@hq.nasa.gov (Please note new
(Mailing address: Code SA, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546)
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RXTE Guest Observer Program: Proposal Due date
Sept. 5, 1997
On May 26, 1997, NASA Office of Space Science (OSS) is releasing a Research
Announcement (NRA 97-OSS-09) entitled Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer Guest Observer Program
(Cycle 3) that solicits proposals for participation in the NASA OSS program to acquire and
analyze scientific data from the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE). This Research
Announcement is the third for RXTE guest observations and solicits proposals for
observations to be carried out beginning about December 1, 1997, and lasting twelve
months. Participation in this program is open to all categories of organizations, both
domestic and foreign, including educational institutions, NASA Centers, profit and
nonprofit organizations, and other U. S. Government agencies. Proposals are due on
September 5, 1997.
Upon its release date, this Research Announcement may be downloadeddirectly from the
World Wide Web site "http://www.hq.nasa.gov/offfice/oss"
by selecting the "Research Opportunities" menu. Printed copies may be requested
by E-mail to email@example.com or from the RXTE Guest Observer Facility, Code
660.2, Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Greenbelt, MD 20771-0001; phone (301) 286-7063.
Obtain additional programmatic information from Dr. Paul Hertz, Code SR, NASA
Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546-0001; phone (202) 358-0351; E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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1. The RXTE Science Data Center at NASA/GSFC has begun a reprocessing of AO-1
data, to fill in gaps that appear in some datasets. All AO-1 GOs will receive new tapes as
this reprocessing proceeds. Note that this reprocessing will not affect results you may
have already obtained from your current RXTE data tapes, but may merely provide some
missing sections of data that may be 'new' to you.
2. Following a recommendation by the RXTE Users Committee, NASA HQ has decided
that RXTE proprietary data rights will be extended by up to six months for PIs of
observations performed in AO-1. (To be specific: AO-1 data will now go public twelve
months after the receipt of the original data tape, or six months after the receipt of the
reprocessed data tape, whichever is _later_. AO-2 data rights are unaffected.)
3. NASA Headquarters and the RXTE GOF expect to issue an announcement for the
third cycle of observations in late May/early June, with a proposal due date in late
August/early September. AO-3 observations will commence on or near the beginning of 1998
and last for one year. This is just a heads-up; an official announcement will follow in
In addition, we'd like to remind you that:
i. if you're analyzing RXTE data, you should be using the latest and greatest
FTOOLS 3.6.1, which was released last month;
ii. if you're anxious about your cash flow, you can now check the status of your
AO-1 and AO-2 RXTE grants (budgets) by taking a look at our online Web pages.
Details about these items and many more can be found by going to the GOF homepage at http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/xte_1st.html
and clicking on the "What's New" icon. We encourage you to visit regularly to
get the latest news from RXTE, and check out our fast-growing collection of data analysis
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August 1997 Multiwavelength Campaign for EGRET
John Mattox, Boston University, has organized a multiwavelength study of the brightest
EGRET blazar, PKS 1622-297. This blazar was observed in 1995 to be temporarily the
brightest GeV gamma-ray source in the sky and showed intra-day gamma-ray variability (Ap
J, 476, 697). Simultaneous CGRO and RXTE monitoring will be done between 8/19/97 and
8/26/97. It is expected that by 5 pm EDT on 8/22/97, a preliminary result will be obtained
for the GeV flux during the first 2.5 days of EGRET exposure. If a high state is
discovered, Mattox will request that the CGRO and RXTE observations be extended, and will
solicit high temporal density observations at mm, IR, and optical wavelengths. More
details and updates during the campaign are available to all at
http://bu-ast.bu.edu/~mattox/multiwavelength1622_297/. Please contact email@example.com if you
wish to participate in high temporal density observations in the event of a flare.
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HEADNEWS, the electronic newsletter of the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the
American Astronomical Society, is issued by the Secretary-Treasurer, at the Department of
Astronomy, Boston University, 725 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215. The HEAD Executive
Committee Members are:
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