Newsletter No. 83, November 2003
  1. Notes from the Editor - Matthew Baring
  2. HEAD in the News - Ilana Harrus, Christopher Wanjek and Megan Watzke
  3. News from NASA Headquarters - Paul Hertz
  4. RHESSI Mission News - David Smith
  5. Swift Mission News - Richard Todaro, Christopher Wanjek and Phil Plait
  6. GLAST Mission News - Phil Plait and Christopher Wanjek
  7. XMM-Newton Mission News - Ilana Harrus and Phil Plait
  8. RXTE News - Padi Boyd, et al.
  9. Chandra X-ray Observatory Operations Report - Roger Brissenden
  10. HETE Mission News - George Ricker
  11. INTEGRAL Mission News - Chris Winkler
  12. Meeting Announcements:




from the Editor - Matthew Baring, HEAD Secretary-Treasurer, headsec@aas.org, 713-348-2983

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.nov03.html.

The next HEAD Division meeting is to be held in New Orleans, Louisiana from Wednesday September 8, 2004 through Saturday, September 11, 2004. The meeting will be held at the historic Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter. In keeping with traditional HEAD meetings, a broad spectrum of high energy astrophysics will be encompassed by the main sessions. The conference logistics will be handled by Eureka Scientific, with information available on line in due course at http://www.eurekasci.com/. We anticipate a mailing of the First Announcement later in the Fall; updates will be posted on the HEAD web site: http://www.aas.org/head/.

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2. HEAD in the News (May 2003 - October 2003) - Ilana Harrus, HEAD Press Officer, Christopher Wanjek, Structure and Evolution of the Universe Senior Science Writer, and Megan Watzke, Chandra Press Officer

"I am greatly relieved that the universe is finally explainable. I was beginning to think it was me." Astronomy made it to the New Yorker! A piece written by no other than Woody Allen (July 28 issue). To read the complete piece, you'll have to buy the magazine or borrow it from a friend (the article is not available on line.) There were many other (and more serious) articles and coverage linked to high energy astrophysics. The articles covered results by most of the high-energy astrophysical missions: Chandra, XMM-Newton, RXTE, HETE II, Integral (ESA is issuing several press releases in the late Fall to support the special A&A edition of Integral results.) With so many articles, it is almost inevitable that the list of highlights below will be incomplete. Please let us know if your favorite result is not listed (email message to Ilana Harrus, HEAD Press Officer, with the subject line: HEAD IN THE NEWS).

Various Items in the News:

September 9, 2003: Chandra "Hears" A Black Hole: The biggest story of this semester by far was the Space Science Update about "sound waves" detected, from the first time, from a super-massive black hole. The NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory detected sound waves, for the first time, from a black hole in the Perseus cluster, located 250 million light years from Earth. The "note" is the deepest ever detected from an object in the universe. The tremendous amounts of energy carried by these sound waves may solve a longstanding problem in astrophysics. The result published in the September issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society made the headline news of national and international press. It was on CNN headlines news and about 30 local US TV stations, as well as National Public Radio. The press coverage was also extensive. The news was reported by the major wires services (Associated Press, Reuters, United Press International, Agence France Press) and picked up by major newspapers in the US (among them, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Herald, The Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Dallas Morning News, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Denver Post, and several smaller publications) and outside the US (The International Herald Tribune, The Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, The Times (London), Herald Sun (Melbourne), Sydney Morning Herald, Hindustan Times, New Zealand Herald) and too many websites (in the US and in countries covering all continents) to name them all.

September 9 - 12, 2003: Los Alamos Meeting on Gamma-Ray Bursts: The September meeting produced a moderate amount of news, namely concerning HETE results about the origin of X-ray flashes and dark bursts and the possibility of a Gamma-ray burst causing past extinction on earth. Coverage ranged from newspapers (such as San Francisco Chronicle, Newsday) to magazines (such as New Scientist, Sky & Telescope, Astronomy).

September 5, 2003: Cannonball Pulsar Imaged Flying Through Space: Astronomers, using the XMM-Newton observatory, captured an image of a pulsar flying through space at 20 times the speed of sound, with radiant twin tails of X-ray light stretching nearly two billion miles from this tiny, dense sphere only about 12 miles across. The object, Geminga, in the constellation of Gemini, is the closest known pulsar to Earth, about 500 light years away. This first clear image of a pulsar's X-ray bow shock was featured in a Science magazine cover story on September 5. Dr. Patrizia Caraveo of the Instituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica (IASF-CNR) in Milan, Italy was the lead author on the Science report. The XMM-Newton Geminga image ran on the top of USA Today's "Lifestyle" section and was featured in several magazine articles.

August 12, 2003: Discovery of the GRB030725 afterglow by an amateur astronomer: Armed with a 12-inch telescope, a computer, and a NASA email alert, Berto Monard of South Africa became the first amateur astronomer to discover an afterglow of a gamma-ray burst, the most powerful explosion known in the Universe. This 40-second-long burst was detected by NASA's High-Energy Transient Explorer (HETE) on July 25. This story was extensively covered by magazines and newspapers.

July 15, 2003: Icebound Antarctic Telescope Delivers First Neutrino Sky Map: A novel telescope that uses the Antarctic ice sheet as its window to the cosmos produced the first map of the high-energy neutrino sky. The map was unveiled for astronomers at a meeting of the International Astronomical Union providing astronomers with a first tantalizing glimpse of very high-energy neutrinos. The result earned a considerable about of press. Coverage included the New York Times, AP, and the BBC.

July 2, 2003: Einstein's Gravitational Waves may set speed limit for pulsar spin: Using NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, scientists have found a limit to how fast a pulsar spins and speculate that the cause is gravitational radiation: The faster a pulsar spins, the more gravitational radiation it might release, as its exquisite spherical shape becomes slightly deformed. This may restrain the pulsar's rotation and save it from obliteration. Prof. Deepto Chakrabarty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge was the lead author of the article, published in the July 3 issue of the journal Nature. This result garnered coverage by AP, Reuters, L.A. Times, and a multitude of web sites, such as CNN, BBC and MSNBC.

June 18, 2003: Cosmological Gamma-Ray Bursts and Hypernovae Conclusively Linked: A very bright burst of gamma-rays observed on March 29, 2003 by NASA's High Energy Transient Explorer (HETE-II) was conclusively linked to an "hypernova". This is caused by the explosion of a very heavy star, presumably over 25 times heavier than the Sun. The gamma-ray burst was designated GRB 030329, according to the date and will pass into the annals of astrophysics as a rare "type-defining event", providing conclusive evidence of a direct link between cosmological gamma-ray bursts and explosions of very massive stars. The detailed report appears in the June 19 issue of the research journal "Nature". The result received wide coverage in the press, including a New York Times article with a beautiful image of a Gamma-ray burst simulation by Zhang and Woosley.

We also note the following:

  • New York Times (November 11, 2003) - Celebrated 25th anniversary issue of the Tuesday Science Section with 25 key questions in science. 3 of them had links to HEA research.
  • NOVA/PBS (October 28 - November 4, 2003) - broadcast a three-part series on string theory, based on Brian Green's Elegant Universe.
  • Astronomy Magazine (October 12, 2003) - Story by Jeremy McGovern on the inauguration of MAGIC, a ground-based gamma-ray telescope. "Gamma-ray Astronomers Will Use MAGIC"
  • New York Times (Oct 10, 2003) - devoted two articles to the coverage of the Cosmology meeting at Case Western University.
  • Newsday (September 23, 2003) - "Scientists study ancient Gamma-ray", an AP reported article on Swift.
  • Sky & Telescope (August 2003) - Feature article by Chris Wanjek, SEU senior science writer, about the future of gamma-ray astronomy.
  • L.A. Times (August 12, 2003) - "A Whole Other Cosmos", an article by K.C. Cole highlighting the proposed missions in the NASA's Beyond Einstein roadmap.
  • Scientific American (July 2003) - Kim Weaver of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center had a feature article on the starburst/AGN connection.

Partial List of Links for HEAD Press Coverage/Images:

We'd like to be as complete as possible, so if you know of any HEAD related press release not mentioned here, please let Ilana Harrus, HEAD Press Officer know.

November 17, 2003: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/03_releases/press_111703.html

November 12, 2003: http://pr.caltech.edu/media/Press_Releases/PR12453.html , http://www.fnal.gov/pub/presspass/press_releases/cdmsdata.html

November 10, 2003: http://www.esa.int/sci_mediacentre/release2003.html?release=51

November 5, 2003: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/11/05_darkmatter.shtml

November 4, 2003: http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/news-release/releases/2003/h03-353.htm

October 30, 2003: http://www.esa.int/sci_mediacentre/release2003.html?release=48

October 22, 2003: http://pr.caltech.edu/media/Press_Releases/PR12443.html

October 17, 2003: http://www.esa.int/sci_mediacentre/release2003.html?release=47

October 15, 2003: http://www.dukenews.duke.edu/news/newsrelease.asp?p=all&id=2898&catid=2,46

September 17, 2003: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/03_releases/press_091703.html

September 16, 2003: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/03_releases/press_091603.html

September 15, 2003: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/09/15_spear.shtml

September 12, 2003: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/nr/2003/hete3.html

September 11, 2003: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/03_releases/press_091103.html

September 10, 2003: http://www.pparc.ac.uk/Nw/Press/sudburysalt.asp

September 9, 2003: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/03_releases/press_090903.html , http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/news-release/releases/2003/03-86.htm

September 5, 2003: http://www.cnrs.fr/cw/en/pres/compress/Geminga.htm

September 3, 2003: http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/news-release/releases/2003/03-84.htm

August 14, 2003: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/presspass/press_releases/minosdata.htm

August 13, 2003: http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/news-release/releases/2003/03-79.htm

August 12, 2003: http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/news-release/releases/2003/03-78.htm

August 4, 2003: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/nr/2003/grbmath.html

July 30, 2003: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/03_releases/press_073003.html

July 21, 2003: http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/news-release/releases/2003/h03-243.htm , http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/07/21_flares.shtml

July 15, 2003: http://www.news.wisc.edu/view.html?get=8759

July 14, 2003: http://www.eso.org/outreach/press-rel/pr-2003/pr-18-03.html , http://www.esa.int/sci_mediacentre/release2003.html?release=27

July 9, 2003: http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/news-release/releases/2003/03-70.htm

July 2, 2003: http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/news-release/releases/2003/h03-224.htm

June 30, 2003: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/03_releases/press_063003.html http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Nousek6-2003.htm

June 19, 2003: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/03_releases/press_061903.html , http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/press/pr0314.html , http://www.uah.edu/News/2003news/x-ray.html http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Brandt6-2003.htm

June 18, 2003: http://www.eso.org/outreach/press-rel/pr-2003/pr-16-03.html , http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/news-release/releases/2003/03-67.htm , http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/news-release/releases/2003/03-66.htm

June 11, 2003: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/03_releases/press_061103.html

June 8, 2003: http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/SEM1E0T1VED_index_0.html

May 28, 2003: http://www.news.wisc.edu/8704.html , http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/05/28_gamma.shtml , http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/news-release/releases/2003/h03-180.htm

May 27, 2003: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/03_releases/press_052703.html

May 21, 2003: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/03_releases/press_052103.html

May 20, 2003: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/05/20_puzzle.shtml

May 8, 2003: http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2003/stephan/index.html

In addition, there are several Chandra Image Releases:

October 28, 2003: Object: NGC 1637 http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2003/ngc1637/

October 14, 2003: Object: NGC6888 http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2003/ngc6888/

October 1, 2003: Object: M86 http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2003/m86/

September 3, 2003: Objects: NGC 4438 & NGC 4435 http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2003/ngc4438/index.html

August 14, 2003: Object: M17 (Horseshoe Nebula) http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2003/m17/index.html

July 9, 2003: Object: NGC 1068 http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2003/ngc1068/index.html

May 26, 2006: Object: SNR 0103-72.6 http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2003/snr0103/index.html , Objects: TW Hydrae and HD 98800A http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2003/twhy/index.html

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3. News from NASA Headquarters - Paul Hertz, NASA Headquarters.

Beyond Einstein

The 2004 Beyond Einstein initiative contains funding for LISA and Constellation-X, two future flagship observatories for NASA. It also contains funding later in the decade for Einstein Probes, three modest missions that will investigate dark energy, black holes, and the Big Bang. As of this writing (November 14), the Beyond Einstein initiative is waiting for approval by Congress as part of NASA's FY2004 budget.

NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE) have both identified the nature of dark energy as high priority for investigation. Both agencies believe that a space mission is required to make the precision measurements necessary to advance our understanding. NASA and DOE have therefore decided to work together on a Joint Dark Energy Mission (JDEM). The current concept is that NASA and DOE would jointly solicit the dark energy science investigation including the science payload, NASA and DOE would jointly be responsible for the science investigation and the operation of the mission, and that NASA would take responsibility for the overall development of the spacecraft and the launch. In the near future, NASA and DOE will jointly establish a science definition team to set the science requirements for the mission. It is important to note that funding for JDEM is in neither the NASA nor the DOE budget, and that a budget augmentation would be required to make this mission a reality.

Last February, NASA solicited proposals for mission concept studies for the Einstein Probes. NASA has selected 10 proposals for funding. The selected PI teams will be undertaking 2 year mission concept studies. These studies will help NASA (and DOE and NSF) establish appropriate plans for realizing the Einstein Probes as missions. Eventually the abstracts for selected proposals will be posted on the Office of Space Science research opportunities web page at http://research.hq.nasa.gov/code_s/code_s.cfm.

Research and Analysis (Grants)

Selections have been made, and the PI's have been notified, for this year's proposals submitted to NASA's research program including the high energy astrophysics element of the Astronomy and Physics Research and Analysis (APRA) Program. Eventually the abstracts for selected proposals will be posted on the Office of Space Science research opportunities web page at http://research.hq.nasa.gov/code_s/code_s.cfm.

The 2004 edition of Research Opportunities in Space Science (ROSS-04) will be released in late January. This NASA Research Announcement (NRA) will contain over 30 program elements. Elements of interest to HEAD members include Astronomy and Physics Research and Analysis (APRA - includes high energy astrophysics), Astrophysics Data Program (ADP), Long Term Space Astrophysics (LTSA), Astrophysics Theory Program (ATP), Beyond Einstein Foundation Science (BEFS), and Guest Investigator programs for RXTE (Cycle 10), FUSE (Cycle 6), and Swift (Cycle 1). Due dates have not been finalized, but APRA will probably be in April, ADP/LTSA will probably be in July, ATP/BEFS will probably be in August, and the GI programs will be in September or later. You must check the ROSS-04 when it is released for the actual due dates.

Explorer Program

On November 4, NASA announced the selection of 5 Small Explorer (SMEX) proposals and one Long Duration Balloon (LDB) proposal to conduct Phase A mission concept studies. These proposals were selected from among 36 proposals received in May in response to the most recent Announcement of Opportunity (AO) from the Explorer program. Following the evaluation of concept study reports, NASA expects to select 2 of the SMEX missions for flight. The LDB mission may or may not be selected for flight. Downselection is expected by November 2004. More information on all of the selected missions is at http://spacescience.nasa.gov/codesr/smex/.

Three of the selected missions are directly relevant to high energy astrophysics:

  • - DUO: Dark Universe Observatory (Richard E. Griffiths, Carnegie Mellon University) -- Seven X-ray telescopes that would measure the dark matter and dark energy that dominate the content of the Universe.
  • - NuSTAR: The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (Fiona Anne Harrison, California Institute of Technology) -- A focusing, hard X-ray telescope that would study nuclear emission from AGN's and supernova remnants.
  • - ANITA: Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (Peter W. Gorham, University of Hawaii) -- A long duration balloon experiment that would detect radio frequency signals emitted when high energy neutrinos interact in the Antarctic ice shelf.

NASA expects to release an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for Medium-class Explorer (MIDEX) missions next year. The target date for release of a draft AO is December 2003 or January 2004, and the target date for release of the AO is May 2004. Proposals will be due 90 days after the AO is released.


The Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) was successfully launched on August 25, 2003. It is currently undergoing science verification tests, with normal science operations expected to begin by early December 2003. Progress updates on the SIRTF activities may be found at the SIRTF web site (http://sirtf.caltech.edu/SSC/). Cycle 1 proposals for observing time and/or archival research are due February 14, 2004 (http://sirtf.caltech.edu/SSC/propkit/).

Cycle 13 Hubble proposals are due on January 23, 2004 (http://www.stsci.edu/hst/hst/proposing/documents/cp/cp_cover.html), and Cycle 6 Chandra proposals are expected to be due in March 2004 (http://cxc.harvard.edu/proposer/).

The next astrophysics mission to be launched is Gravity Probe B. GPB's December 2003 launch has been postponed for several months due to technical problems with electronics boxes. GPB's 4 gyroscopes will directly measure two predictions of Einstein's theory of general relativity: the curvature of space-time due to the Earth's presence and the dragging of space-time due to the Earth's rotation. Updates on GPB's progress toward launch may be found at http://einstein.stanford.edu/.

The High Energy Transient Explorer 2 (HETE-2) mission has been extended through the end of summer 2004. HETE-2's mission was scheduled to end in January 2004, which would have overlapped with the Swift GRB Explorer mission if it had launched in September 2003. Since Swift's launch has been delayed until late spring 2004, the HETE-2 project proposed a mission extension. Following a peer review of the proposal, NASA has granted this extension.

The European Space Agency (ESA) recently announced that they were extending the INTEGRAL mission. INTEGRAL has been approved to operate through December 2008.

NASA will be conducting its next Senior Review of all operating missions and astrophysics data archives in April 2004. The results of this review will be used to establish NASA's priorities for mission operations and data analysis. These priorities will inform budget decisions for allocating funding to operating missions and data archives. In particular, this is the process through which NASA decides when to cease operations for missions that have completed their prime mission and are operating in extended missions. NASA missions in that category, whose future will be determined in the Senior Review, include RXTE, FUSE, WMAP, and HETE-2. The review will also include NASA missions that are proposing to begin extended missions in the next two years, such as GALEX, CHIPS, and Swift, and NASA's astrophysics data archives, such as HEASARC, IRSA, MAST, LAMBDA, NED and ADS. The results of recent Senior Reviews may be found at http://spacescience.nasa.gov/admin/divisions/sz/index.htm.

Advisory Groups

The NASA Astronomy and Physics Division is served by five committee groups. These are the Astronomy and Physics Working Group (APWG) that considers the astronomy and physics research and analysis program, the Science Archives Working Group (SAWG) that considers the astronomy and physics science archives and data analysis program, the Structure and Evolution of the Universe Subcommittee (SEUS) that considers the SEU theme program, the Origins Subcommittee (OS) that considers the Origins theme program, and the Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee (AAC) that advises NASA and NSF on astronomy and astrophysics programs. You are encouraged to provide your input on improving NASA's programs by contacting members of the community who serve on these groups. Information can be found at: http://spacescience.nasa.gov/admin/divisions/sz/index.htm (APWG and SAWG), http://spacescience.nasa.gov/adv/sscacsubcomm.htm (SEUS and OS), and http://www.aas.org/aaac/ (AAAC).

Who's Who at NASA Headquarters

All of your favorite high energy astrophysics projects are managed within the Astronomy and Physics Division (APD) of the Office of Space Science at NASA Headquarters. Edward Weiler is the Associate Administrator for Space Science, and Anne Kinney is the Director of the Astronomy and Physics Division. Within APD, Louis Kaluzienski is the Program Scientist for Astro-E2, Con-X, RXTE, Swift and XMM-Newton, Donald Kniffen is the Program Scientist for Chandra, GLAST, HETE-2, and INTEGRAL, Alan Smale is the Science Program Executive for the data archives including HEASARC, and Paul Hertz is the Program Scientist for Beyond Einstein and the Structure and Evolution of the Universe Theme. A complete list of personnel and assignments can be found at http://spacescience.nasa.gov/admin/divisions/sz/index.htm.

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

The Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) approaches its 10,000th orbit in good condition. It was approved for an extended mission, beginning at the end of its primary mission next Spring, by the Senior Review of missions in NASA's Sun-Earth Connection theme. A description of the mission and instrument can be found in the May 2002 issue of this Newsletter.

The special issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters on RHESSI observations of the gamma-ray flare of July 23, 2002 appeared on October 1, 2003. One result from this flare, by G. J. Hurford et al. (ApJL 595, L77), earned particular notice, including a "Search and Discovery" feature in the September issue of Physics Today. They found that the 2.2 MeV line from neutron capture, a tracer of ion interactions, appeared at a significant offset (about 20") with respect to the position of electron interactions (bremsstrahlung) from the same flare. This implies either that the electrons and ions are accelerated in different locations or that they propagate very differently through the corona before encountering the denser regions of the chromosphere or photosphere where they interact.

RHESSI contributions were prominent in the meeting of the Solar Physics Division of the AAS in June and in the ACE/RHESSI/Wind workshop held in Taos, NM in October.

Our patience since last July has been rewarded by the large active region that crossed the Sun in the last week of October and the first week of November. It produced at least three major flares showing gamma-ray lines in RHESSI data. Analysis of these events is just gearing up, and that active region is due to return to the near side of the Sun within a day or so of the time of this writing. RHESSI's sample of smaller flares and microflares continues to grow daily, of course.

Nonsolar studies with RHESSI continue, including analyses of lines from Galactic radionuclei and polarization studies of gamma-ray bursts. All RHESSI data are public, and the community is encouraged to participate in RHESSI data analysis. For a listing of solar projects under way, see the Max Millenium website at: http://solar.physics.montana.edu/rhessi/projects/default_page.pl.

To discuss the use of RHESSI for non-solar projects, please contact David Smith: dsmith (at) scipp.ucsc.edu. Information on RHESSI data access and analysis can be found at the RHESSI data center: http://rhessidatacenter.ssl.berkeley.edu/ or http://hesperia.gsfc.nasa.gov/rhessidatacenter/.

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5. Swift Mission News - Richard Todaro, Christopher Wanjek (NASA/GSFC) and Phil Plait (Sonoma State University)

With its launch date of mid-May 2004 still on track, the Swift mission continues to progress on both technical and scientific front, including instrument development, planning for research and science analysis, establishment of guidelines for guest investigator proposals, and arranging data archiving. In the past six months, developments have included:

Holding a Swift science team meeting in late October at the Goddard Space Flight Center that brought together scientists from Italy, Japan, and Great Britain and that "focused on science analysis, gamma-ray burst operations, as well as instrument status," according to Swift mission Principal Investigator Dr. Neil Gehrels.

Overcoming some difficulties with integration and testing of the Burst Alert Telescope (BAT). Gehrels said the other two instruments to fly aboard Swift -- the X-ray Telescope (XRT) and UV/Optical Telescope (UVOT) -- have been integrated onto the spacecraft and are undergoing preliminary environmental testing.

Holding additional meetings on issues related to the implementation of the "burst advocates" plan that is a unique hallmark of the Swift mission, according to Dr. Ann Parsons, who is in charge of the BAT detector. Parsons said the Swift team decided to start out with a small group of scientists as "guinea pigs" of the burst advocate plan, whereby one scientist will be given responsibility for the issues surrounding a particular burst. Parsons said the point of this was to find out what sort of analysis tools and user manuals the burst advocates will need.

Development of policy guidelines for ROSS 03 Swift guest investigator proposals. Dr. Patricia Boyd, the lead scientist for the Swift Science Center at Goddard, said that three types of funding proposals have been created. These include (1) any new projects using Swift data; (2) follow-up observations at various wavelengths; and (3) theoretical work, all of which must involve gamma-ray bursts. The ROSS 03 AO-1 Swift proposals are due Dec. 1, 2003.

Preparation of Swift software that is to run in the "processing pipeline" and which will be released shortly before launch. Dr. Boyd said that Swift data will begin entering the HEASARC Swift archive 4-1/2 months after the mission is launched. Dr. Gehrels added that the Swift team will make GRB information available even during the first 4-1/2 months via Gamma-ray burst Coordinates Network (GCN) notices. The HEASARC Swift archive will include all data levels, calibration information, software, and accompanying documentation. Dr. Boyd said additional information is available at http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/swift/archive/.

Swift E/PO News

The NASA Education and Public Outreach Group at Sonoma State University is busily preparing E/PO materials for the Swift launch.

The biggest news is the addition of three new Swift Educator Ambassadors (EAs). The EAs are a group of top-notch educators who help develop, test, and disseminate teacher resource materials. After a nationwide application process, the new Swift EAs chosen are David Beier from Kansas City, Missouri, Bruce Hemp, from Fort Defiance, Virginia, and Dr. Tom Arnold, from State College, Pennsylvania. They join veterans Rae McEntyre and Rob Sparks to bring the total number of Swift EAs to five. Ms. Hemp and Dr. Arnold were originally members of the Swift Education Committee (SwEC), but it was decided that the master teachers on the SwEC would add more to Swift's outreach efforts by becoming EAs. Since May, the two original EAs have presented Swift materials at seven different educational conferences, with over 300 teachers participating in total.

The combined Swift/GLAST booth appeared at three national education and scientific conferences since May 2003. For the entire fiscal year 2003, Swift was represented at 15 presentations to students and the public, and at 26 teacher workshops, for a total of more than 3900 participants. During that same year, more than 30,000 Swift materials were distributed, with nearly 11,000 ordered directly through the Swift E/PO website. On top of that, 40,000 posters were distributed via the National Science Teachers Association "Science Teacher," and "Science Scope" magazines which featured an activity from the Swift GEMS Guide called "The Invisible Universe: From Radio Waves to Gamma Rays".

"What's in the News?" a news program for middle school students, aired a 15 minute segment about the environment of space, featuring preparations made by the Swift team to ready the spacecraft for launch. Swift E/PO team member Dr. Phil Plait was also featured discussing what must be done to protect spacecraft, as well as encouraging young people to explore a career in science. The program is viewed by over 5 million students yearly, and is available online at http://www.witn.psu.edu/index.html.

Other Swift materials created include a "mini-plot", which are post-it notes mounted on an illustration of Swift (the illustration will be used as a poster accompanying a Swift educator guide to be released next year), Swift t-shirts to be available by launch, and a spacecraft poster designed by SpectrumAstro. The Swift mission was also mentioned in an article written by Phil Plait about gamma-ray astronomy for StarDate magazine.

Progress has been steady on the new Gamma-ray Burst Educator's Unit. The first activity "Sorting out the Cosmic Zoo" was the subject of a workshop at the California Science Teacher's Association annual meeting. Featuring a set of 20 cards that must be sorted into categories using astronomical information and lightcurves of different bursts, the activity is also well-suited for introductory college astronomy students. To download the cardset and background information, go to http://swift.sonoma.edu/education/index.html.

SSU Professor and E/PO program director Lynn Cominsky gave an invited focus talk at the California Science Teacher's Association meeting that featured Swift, GLAST and NASA's Beyond Einstein initiative missions. Entitled "Things My Mother Never Told Me About the Universe," the talk explored concepts of mass and energy from Newton to Einstein and beyond.

For more information, please visit http://swift.sonoma.edu.

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6. GLAST Mission News - Phil Plait (Sonoma State) and Christopher Wanjek (NASA/GSFC)

The GLAST Large Area Telescope team (LAT) and the Science Working Group (SWG) both met in Rome in mid-September.

At the LAT International Collaboration Meeting, attendees discussed GLAST mission status, results of recent instrument and software testing, challenges facing data collection, and activity reports from Italy, Sweden, Germany and France. Meeting presentations are available at http://glast.gsfc.nasa.gov/science/lat/sept03/. The LAT team and the GLAST Science Support Center have created a basic system for storing and extracting GLAST data, for conducting likelihood analyses, and for producing gamma-ray burst spectra. The Science Support Center also has science tools in place and is now defining file formats and determining how various ground system stations can best coordinate. A decision has been made to perform telemetry through TDRSS.

The SWG discussed science from ground-based TeV observatories, such as Milagro and HEGRA, the status of AGILE, cosmic-ray propagation, recent X-ray and gamma-ray observations of supernovae, and other potential GLAST targets. Presentations are available at http://glast.gsfc.nasa.gov/science/swg/sept03/. A GLAST users committee has already been formed and met for the first time at GSFC in October.


Five new Educator Ambassadors (EAs) have been chosen for the GLAST mission (see the Swift E/PO news for more about the EA project). The new EAs are Jeff Adkins, of Antioch, California; Deanna Duncan, of Concord, North Carolina; Walter Glogowski, of Norridge, Illinois, Ellen Holmes, of Bangor, Maine; and Pamela Whiffen, of Phoenix, Arizona. We have also added former SEUEF EA Mary Garrett to the GLAST cohort, replacing Jason Smith who is leaving the program for personal reasons. This brings the total number of GLAST EAs to ten. Since May, 2003, the EAs have presented GLAST materials at 19 conferences, with a total of 1300 teachers, 5300 students, and 3850 members of the public participating.

In the fiscal year 2003, the GLAST booth (combined with the Swift booth) appeared at seven conferences, and approximately 5000 GLAST materials were handed out.

The new GLAST Active Galaxies Educator Guide has been demonstrated at several workshops, and is enjoying a warm reception by science and math teachers across the country. A draft of the second installment in the TOPS Learning Systems education units (based on GLAST science and math) is currently undergoing testing and editing by the SSU GLAST E/PO group.

GLAST is sponsoring the development of two new Space Mysteries; interactive web-based inquiry-driven activities that put the student in the middle of a mystery they must solve using math and science. The first will have the student investigate whether or not the Milky Way is becoming an active galaxy. In the second, students will play the role of a space scientist trying to put together a space science mission. They will face many simulated obstacles based on those endured by real mission team members on the way to launching and using a space-based observatory.

New GLAST giveaways developed include Magic cubes, which feature 6 small and 3 large images representative of the GLAST mission science; "mini plots", which are post-it notes mounted on an illustration of the GLAST satellite; and a new GLAST design for stickers and patches.

The SSU Robotic Telescope System (RTS), part of the GLAST Telescope Network, will be moved to a new dark observing site in 2004. Located in northern Sonoma County, California, the Pepperwood Natural Preserve is an excellent location for observing GLAST targets. Progress has been made on the site; the foundation has been poured, the dome has been delivered, and the first parts have been installed next to the existing Hume observatory, which is owned by the California Academy of Sciences.

For more information, please visit http://glast.sonoma.edu.

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7. XMM-Newton Mission News - Ilana Harrus, XMM Press Officer (NASA/GSFC), and Phil Plait (Sonoma State)

XMM-Newton Mission:

In December, XMM-Newton will celebrate its fourth anniversary in space. With more than 350 refereed articles published since its launch, the ESA/NASA mission keeps playing a major role in X-ray astronomy.

Instruments status -- Calibration All instruments are performing well. A new release of the analysis software (SAS) is planed for early next year. A workshop on modeling EPIC backgrounds in the context of analyzing observations of extended sources and the diffuse background was held in Milan in early October. Presentations from the meeting can be found at: http://www.mi.iasf.cnr.it/~silvano/wks_pres/.

Results of the last AO There were 692 proposals submitted in response to the AO3 which closed on April 30 (the slightly higher number published in the previous newsletter was due to proposals submitted more than once). About 1500 scientists (from more than 35 countries) participated in this cycle as PIs or Co-Is. The over-subscription was larger than 7.5. There were 9 "Large proposals", a category offered for the first time. After review by more than 70 scientists, the results for the OTAC were announced in a record time (less than 2 months after the proposal submission deadline). There were a total of 695 observations accepted (there can be more than one observations per proposal). The list of all observations accepted is available at: http://xmm.vilspa.esa.es/external/xmm_obs_info/ao3_otac_results.shtml or at the US mirror site: http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xmm/ao3/results.html.

Senior Review coming up In the next half a year, the NASA portion of the XMM-Newton project will be participating in the biannual Senior Review process. This critical review will determine the level of support that NASA will provide over the FY05 and FY06 period, including the level of Guest Observer funding. The XMM-Newton Guest Observer Facility at the Goddard Space Flight Center is in charge to compile, among other things, the list of scientific investigations and discoveries made by the XMM-Newton observatory. We are asking inputs from the community for making this list as complete as possible. This is the time to advertise your recent results and demonstrate the need for the continued support of the mission. Please send an e-mail to xmmgof@olegacy.gsfc.nasa.gov informing us of your results and where they were presented/published. We'll do the rest for you!

XMM-Newton E/PO News:

Work has begun in earnest with Project CLEA (Contemporary Laboratory Experiences in Astronomy; http://www.gettysburg.edu/academics/physics/clea/CLEAhome.html) to create an interactive computer lab exercise, in which students will analyze X-ray spectra of the Cas A supernova remnant. Entitled "Dying Stars and the Birth of the Elements," the activity simulates x-ray spectra with different elemental abundances for different positions on the CasA image. A first-cut version of the exercise has been put together to test the feasibility of the process, and preliminary results are very encouraging. The exercise is scheduled to be ready in 2004.

XMM-Newton is co-sponsoring with GLAST a poster and series of activities based on high-energy observations of supernova remnants (SNRs). Students will investigate the physical characteristics of SNRs, beaming from pulsars, and the origin of heavy elements. This work is currently in the preliminary stages.

XMM-Newton now has its own Educator Ambassadors. Formerly supported by the Structure and Evolution of the Universe Education Forum, EAs Tom Estill (Chabot Space and Science Center) and Dr. Christine Royce (Shippensburg University) now join XMM-Newton to help us develop, test and disseminate educational activities based on the science of x-ray spectroscopy.

The XMM-Newton web site is continually being upgraded after its move to SSU earlier this year. If you have suggestions for additions to the image gallery, please write to phil@universe.sonoma.edu.

For more information, please visit http://xmm.sonoma.edu.

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8. Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer News - Padi Boyd, Keith Jahoda, Craig Markwardt, Gail Rohrbach, Evan Smith, Tod Strohmayer, and Jean Swank, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

The workhorse that is the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) will soon begin its 9th observing cycle and continues to be very productive. Instrument operations remain stable, and exciting science results continue to be generated both from new observations as well as from the extensive public archive. Demand for RXTE observations continues to run high, judging by the healthy mix of experienced RXTE users and newcomers who submitted proposals for observing cycle 9 (see below for more details on the recent cycle 9 proposal review). RXTE is well-known in the high energy community for its flexible scheduling, and demand for this continues unabated, with continued multi-wavelength efforts, as well as coordinated observing with the imaging and high spectral resolution capabilities of Chandra and XMM/Newton. In addition, guest observers are now asking for more coordinated time with INTEGRAL and Swift.

The meeting "X-ray Timing 2003: Rossi and Beyond" was recently held in Cambridge, MA, with the dual purposes of surveying the recent RXTE results and discussing the need for future timing capabilities. A summary of some recent RXTE science results follows.

Science Highlights:

RXTE results were the focus of a NASA Space Science Update on July 2, 2003. Deepto Chakrabarty (MIT) and his collaborators discussed the RXTE observations of the accreting millisecond pulsar SAX J1808.4-3658. Using the observed distribution of neutron star spin frequencies as measured from the frequency distribution of burst oscillation sources, they derived an upper limit to the spin frequency of neutron stars. The derived rate, about 760 Hz, is significantly less than the break-up rotation rate for most neutron star equations of state, and suggests that some physical process limits the spin up of accreting neutron stars. One intriguing idea is that gravitational radiation, emitted as the neutron star speeds up, is responsible for removing angular momentum at the same rate it is being accreted. For the complete story follow the links at http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/2003/0702pulsarspeed.html.

RXTE observations continue to provide new insight into the formation and properties of millisecond pulsars. In June 2003, the 5th accreting millisecond pulsar, XTE J1814-338, was discovered in Craig Markwardt's RXTE/PCA scans of the Galactic center region (Markwardt & Swank 2003, IAUC 8144). This pulsar has a 314.4 Hz spin frequency and resides in a binary with a 4.3 hr period. This discovery triggered an extensive set of RXTE observations of the outburst. The object proved to be a prolific source of thermonuclear bursts, with 27 bursts observed during the course of 6 weeks of monitoring. All of them show burst oscillations with the frequency and phase of the pulsations tightly linked to that of the pulsations in the persistent X-ray emission. This makes J1814 only the second source to show both persistent pulsations as well as burst oscillations. Interestingly, the burst oscillations in J1814 reveal, for the first time, a significant first harmonic signal. Further details of this discovery can be found in the Astrophysical Journal (Strohmayer et al. 2003, ApJ, 596, L67).

Recently RXTE observations have led to the discovery of a new Anomalous X-ray Pulsar (AXP), XTE J1810-197. In July, Alaa Ibrahim (GWU/GSFC) requested observations of SGR 1806-20 in order to follow up an IPN report of renewed burst activity from the source (Hurley et al. GCN 2297). In these pointed RXTE observations a new 5.54 s pulsar was found (GCN 2306). Serendipitously, the source was also present in some of the PCA monitoring observations of the Galactic bulge region and of a nearby target. This allowed a detection of the spin down rate, which is similar to that seen in other AXPs. The requirement of a steep power law index to describe the X-ray spectrum is also consistent with an AXP identification. Further details of the RXTE observations can be found at http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/astro-ph/0310665.

RXTE observations of transient black hole systems have revealed another source of high frequency quasiperiodic oscillations (QPOs). Jeroen Homan (OAB, Merate) and colleagues discovered a 240 Hz QPO in the transient black hole candidate XTE J1746-3213 (Atel 162). The QPO had a strength of 2% in the 6 - 21 keV ban and a width of about 30 Hz. At the time the QPO was detected the energy spectrum was dominated by a steep (index of 2.6) power law component. These properties are quite similar to those seen in the other high frequency QPO sources. This is now the 7th black hole system to reveal high frequency QPOs, after GRS 1915+105, GRO J1655-40, XTE J1550-564, XTE J1859+226, 4U 1630-47, and XTE J1650-500.

RXTE continues to discover new transient systems as well as new outbursts of known objects. As an example, a recurrence of a 1975 transient MX0656-072, XTE J0658-073, was recently detected with the ASM (Atel 197). Ed Morgan (MIT) and his colleagues reported on the results of follow-up observations with the PCA and HEXTE, and revealed that the source is an accreting pulsar with a 160.7 second period (Atel 199). Deeper spectroscopic observations, reported by William Heindl (UCSD/CASS) and collaborators, indicate the presence of a cyclotron absorption line at ~35 keV. The line energy suggests a magnetic field strength of ~4e12 Gauss for the neutron star (Atel 200). Observations are continuing which may determine the orbit and the cause of very noisy pulsations.

Observing Cycle 9 News:

The RXTE Cycle 9 Peer Review recently took place in Baltimore, MD. Reviewers from around the country, and world, met to discuss, dissect and deliberate. Proposers should receive the results of the review from NASA HQ by early December. Also check the RXTE home page, http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/xhp_1st.html for more information on the results of the review. RXTE continues to be a popular mission, judging by the mix of seasoned RXTE users and newcomers, who submitted proposals on a broad range of topics.

A total of 167 proposals were submitted for Cycle 9. While the total number of proposals received has been more or less stable over the last few years, there has been a steady increase in the fraction of proposals for targets of opportunity (TOOs). In Cycle 9, for the first time the number of TOO proposals was larger than the number of non-TOO proposals submitted. A total of 61.4 Megaseconds of observing time was requested. The oversubscription factor for non-TOO observing time was about 2.2.

RXTE is well-known in the high energy community for its flexible scheduling. This has resulted in more proposals asking for coordination with Chandra, XMM, INTEGRAL, Swift and ground based radio and Gamma-ray detectors. In addition, about 10% of submitted proposals came from first-time RXTE PIs, indicating that RXTE is still attracting new people and ideas.

The RXTE GOF is indebted to the scientists who took time out of their busy schedules to participate in the RXTE proposal review process. Many thanks to all.

RXTE Data Analysis and Calibration News:

A new version of the HEAsoft FTOOLS package, version 5.3, will be released within a few weeks. The package includes several improvements for RXTE data analysis, including new and improved PCA response matrices.

The new response produces better agreement between individual PCUs; produces best fit power law indices for the Crab of 2.1; and has adjusted the absolute effective areas to provide good agreement with historical measurements of the Crab (areas were increased by ~12%, resulting in a corresponding decrease in derived fluxes).

A small problem was recently discovered with the PCA background models. New models correcting this problem have been generated and will be released by the XTE GOF. The new background models have been modified so that a small time dependent term is correctly applied. The models will be available at the RXTE GOF website and ftp area once final testing is complete. For details of the FTOOLS release and the availability of the new background models, check the RXTE News webpage at http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/xhp_new.html.

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9. Chandra X-ray Observatory Operations Report - Roger Brissenden, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

Chandra past its 4th year of operation in July and the spacecraft and science instruments continue to operate well.

The last six months have been a busy one for the operations team. Highlights have included the completion in July of the summer eclipse season using a flight software patch that improves power management, the reduction in temperature of the Aspect Camera CCD, the uplink of a flight software patch to change the trigger threshold for Chandra's radiation detector, and the swap to the redundant Inertial Reference Unit (IRU) due to an increasingly noisy gyroscope. The Flight team also continued the investigation into the anomalous thruster firings seen during some momentum unloadings and have determined a nominal operating regime (the anomalous behavior being linked to a high starting temperature).

The decision to swap to the backup IRU in July was made after one of the gyros in the prime IRU showed continued and increasing levels of current noise (possibly due to increased friction experienced by the gyro rotor from lubricant breakdown). The gyro is still functional but considered to have a limited lifetime and the swap has ensured that there is a functioning backup to switch to in the event of a safe mode. The other three gyros (each IRU has two) are functioning nominally and the spacecraft can be configured to operate with cross-strapped gyros if needed.

The reduction in temperature of the Aspect Camera CCD from -10 to -15 deg C was performed to counter the increasing number of warm pixels due to the anticipated build-up of radiation damage throughout the mission. The temperature was lowered in five steps of 1 deg. C during May-July and has resulted in a reduction in the number of warm pixels by a factor of 2.

The Science and Flight operations teams continued to carefully monitor the radiation levels due to solar events. The observing schedule was halted 8 times since April either autonomously or via manual command to safe the Science Instruments and minimize damage due to high radiation. Four of the stoppages occurred in the two week period beginning 24 October during which over 85% of the science time was lost (the largest impact for the mission).

There were no load halts due to "false triggers" of the radiation monitor (EPHIN) near belt entry however, thanks to the uplink of a flight software patch that increased the number of frames from the radiation detector required to trigger a load halt. Analysis of prior unwanted events showed that an increase from 4 to 10 frames would largely avoid the problem without an undue risk of increased radiation dosage to the science instruments.

The overall average observing efficiency remained at 68% during the last 6 months (the maximum possible is 70-75% due to radiation belts, slewing, star acquisitions etc). The team responded rapidly to 3 fast turn-around Targets of Opportunity that involved replanning the weekly schedule and uplinking new mission loads at the earliest opportunity.

Both the ACIS and HRC focal plane instruments have continued to operate well overall. The continuous degradation in the ACIS detection efficiency at low-energies has been monitored through calibration observations. The degradation is thought to be due to a build up of contaminant on the outer side of the ACIS optical blocking filter and preparations are in progress for a bake-out designed to remove a significant fraction of the material. A decision is expected early in the year about an April bakeout once testing and analysis is complete.

The processing, archiving and distribution of data has continued without problems and the average time from target observation to distribution of data has remained about a week. The archive continues to grow at ~0.5 TB per year with retrievals of 150-200 GB per month.

The Data Systems team released a new version of the CIAO analysis software in August. CIAO 3.0 is a major "infrastructure" release with several libraries (most notably the Data Model) completely rewritten. Many CIAO libraries are now accessible via S-Lang modules, which significantly enhance the scripting capabilities. Also, CIAO 3.0 has been ported to MacOS X, making the software available to Macintosh users.

Observations for Cycle 4 are near completion and we expect to transition to Cycle 5 in December. The Cycle 6 Call For Proposals is planned for release in mid-December.

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

During the past year, HETE has continued to produce exciting results concerning both gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and X-ray flashes (XRFs). All three science instruments (i.e. the gamma-ray [Fregate], the medium energy X-ray [WXM], and the soft X-ray cameras [SXC]) are working extremely well. HETE is currently localizing 25-30 GRBs per year, with 55 GRBs localized thus far in 3 years of operation (compared to 52 GRBs localized by BeppoSAX during its 6-year mission). HETE's localization sample includes 16 XRFs. Twenty-one HETE localizations have led to detection of an X-ray, optical or radio afterglow. Redshifts have been reported for 12 HETE-localized GRBs (compared to 8 in total for the BeppoSAX mission). HETE has observed 45 bursts from SGRs 1806-20 and 1900+14 in the summers of 2001- 2003 - and discovered a 6th SGR: 1808-20. HETE has observed approximately 1000 XRBs. Four major science insights gained from HETE prompt or follow-up observations in the last year include the detection of the most extreme case of an X-ray flash in XRF020903, with an Epeak < 5 keV; evidence for a refreshed shock or inhomogeneous jet in GRB021004; several bursts (especially GRB021211) that would likely have been classified as optically dark bursts were it not for the rapid and accurate localizations provided by HETE; and discovery of a remarkable supernovae/GRB (GRB030329 = SN2003dh) -- HETE detected the GRB and ~1 week later, optical observations detected a supernova spectrum in the afterglow. HETE is also able to disseminate detections quickly for optical follow-up -- 7 localizations were made available in less than 60 seconds in the last 15 months; others have been made available within hours. The soft X-ray camera (SXC) problems experienced earlier in the mission have been rectified; the harvest of SXC results (15 fine [~arcminute] localizations in the past year) has accumulated at about 2/3 the rate of WXM localizations alone. Almost no SXC-localized bursts have been optically dark: 87% have IR or optical counterparts. The nature of XRFs is largely unknown. HETE-discovered XRFs may provide unique insights into the GRB rate, the structure of GRB jets, and possible links to supernovae. HETE results are confirming and extending the so-called "Amati relationship" between the GRB isotropic energy fluence of a GRB and its value of Epeak. The prompt emission of GRBs can provide an empirical predictive redshift estimator that is accurate to approximately a factor of 2 (Atteia 2003).

HETE is proving to be ideally suited to localizing and studying XRFs, an important reason cited by NASA in recently deciding to continue HETE operations during (at least) the initial phases of the Swift mission. Swift has the potential capability of observing HETE-localized bursts with an added delay that is only of order a few tens of seconds. Thus, HETE can increase by a factor ~10 the number of XRFs that Swift can follow up -- these bursts are crucial for determining the nature of XRFs, the structure of GRB jets, the GRB rate, and the relationship between GRBs and Type Ic SNe. Also, HETE can provide bolometric Fpeak, S, and spectral parameters (Epeak) for HETE bursts that Swift can follow up -- measurements that are crucial for confirming strong GRB evolution with redshift. Also, HETE triggers (always in an anti-sun direction) occur in a different area of the sky than do Swift triggers, meaning that HETE+Swift operating together in partnership could in principle approximately double the number of rare, bright GRBs which Swift would be able to discover on its own. Such a HETE-derived sample can approximately double the number of very bright GRBs at z < 0.5 that the Swift XRT and UVOT can follow up -- bursts which are crucial for understanding the GRB - SN connection. In addition, the HETE-derived sample can approximately double the number of bright GRBs at z > 5 that Swift can follow up -- bursts which are crucial for using GRBs as probes of the very high z universe. Thus, it is becoming ever more clear that the partnering of HETE and Swift could significantly enhance the scientific return of the Swift mission.

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11. INTEGRAL Mission News - Chris Winkler, INTEGRAL Project Scientist

INTEGRAL continues to produce interesting science. An update on the INTEGRAL mission can be found in ISOC Newsletter No. 10, including mission status, science highlights and accepted programs in the AO-2 proposal round.

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12. Meeting Announcements

Young Neutron Stars and Supernova Remnants (during 18-25 July 2004, Paris, France)
The meeting "Young Neutron Stars and Supernova Remnants," to be held as part of the 35th COSPAR Scientific Assembly, 18-25 July 2004, Paris, France, will address recent observational and theoretical developments taking place in the study of young neutron stars, supernova remnants, and the interactions between them. Issues addressed will include neutron star demographics, birth properties and thermal evolution; the interaction of supernova remnants with their environment; high-energy and non-thermal emission from neutron stars and supernova remnants; and the connection between pulsar magnetospheres, winds and nebulae. Two special half-day sessions will be held jointly with other COSPAR sessions: one on "Nucleosynthesis and Supernova Remnants", and another on "Supernova Remnants and Cosmic Rays." The first announcement for this meeting is available at http://hea-www.harvard.edu/~bmg/cospar_e1.4/. Abstracts will be accepted until 15 Feb 2004; the deadline for early registration is 15 May 2004.

High Energy Gamma-Ray Astronomy (26-30 July 2004, Heidelberg, Germany)
During July 26-30, 2004 an International Symposium on "High Energy Gamma-Ray Astronomy" will be held in Heidelberg (organizers F.A. Aharonian and H.J. Voelk). It will be the third of its kind in Heidelberg, after 1994 and 2000. The principal aim is to discuss the basic objectives of high energy astrophysics in their connection to gamma-ray astronomy at energies between 1 GeV and 100 TeV, with some coverage of related fields such as the highest energy cosmic rays and high energy neutrino astrophysics. The Symposium will consist of the following four parts: (1) Nonthermal Galactic Sources - Supernova Remnants, Pulsars, Pulsar Winds/Plerions, Diffuse Galactic emission, Compact Galactic Objects; (2) Potential Extragalactic Sources - Blazars, Radiogalaxies Starburst Galaxies, Rich clusters of galaxies; (3) Particle Acceleration Models -- Acceleration in Supernova Remnants, Relativistic shocks and Gamma-Ray Bursts, Particle Acceleration in AGN Jets, Nonthermal Particles in Galaxy Clusters: (4) Observational Cosmology and Dark Matter - Extragalactic Background Light and gamma-ray absorption features, Pair Halos around Nonthermal Extragalactic Sources, Extragalactic Gamma Ray Background, Gamma Rays and Dark Matter.

Gamma-Ray Bursts (during 18-25 July 2004, Paris, France)
The meeting "Gamma-Ray Bursts," to be held as part of the 35th COSPAR Scientific Assembly, 18-25 July 2004, Paris, France, will be a one-day gathering to discuss the exciting recent findings in gamma-ray burst astronomy and prospect for future progress. It will include review talks and contributed talks and posters on GRBs. The Main Scientific Organizer of the GRB session is Neil Gehrels and Deputy Organizer is Luigi Piro. More information can be found at http://www.copernicus.org/COSPAR/paris2004/overview_scientific_program.html.

X-ray and Radio Connections Workshop (3-6 February, 2004, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA)
The "X-ray and Radio Connections" workshop, to be held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA from Tuesday February 3, through Friday February 6, 2004, will focus on scientific areas where cross fertilization between theory and observations in both x-ray and radio wavebands provides a key to underlying physical processes. The following scientific topics will be covered: massive star cluster outflows; colliding stellar winds; supernova remnants; pulsar wind nebulae; dissipation of jets and lobes; and cluster mergers. The meeting is jointly sponsored by: Chandra X-Ray Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, Los Alamos National Laboratories, and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory Registration and conference details can be found at http://www.aoc.nrao.edu/events/xraydio.

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

    Comments, questions, or feedback to headsec@aas.org, Updated November 30, 2003