Newsletter No. 85, November 2004
  1. Notes from the Editor - Matthew Baring
  2. Comments from the Chair - Roger Blandford
  3. Fourth Schramm Prize Awarded to Oliver Morton - Ilana Harrus
  4. HEAD in the News - Ilana Harrus, Christopher Wanjek and Megan Watzke
  5. INTEGRAL Mission News - Chris Winkler and Chris Shrader
  6. XMM-Newton Mission News - Steve Snowden and Phil Plait
  7. GLAST Mission News - Christopher Wanjek, Phil Plait and Lynn Cominsky
  8. RHESSI Mission News - David Smith
  9. HETE Mission News - George Ricker and Don Lamb
  10. Chandra X-ray Observatory Operations Report - Roger Brissenden and Martin Weisskopf
  11. Swift Mission News - Lynn Cominsky and Phil Plait
  12. Astro-E2 Mission News - Richard Kelley, Koji Mukai and Ilana Harrus
  13. Astrostatistics Workshop Resources - Vinay Kashyap
  14. News from NASA Headquarters - Lou Kaluzienski
  15. 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.nov04.html.

After a very successful HEAD Division meeting held in New Orleans this past September, we look forward to the next meeting in the fall of 2006, probably in the San Francisco Bay Area; details of the meeting calendar are offered in the "Comments from the Chair," Item 2 just below, and specifics of the venue will be communicated to the membership when they become available.

This will be the last Newsletter I will oversee as Secretary-Treasurer, since I am rotating off the HEAD Executive Committee in January, 2005. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve in this role over the last 3 1/3 years, and I thank the various Committee members, HEAD members and AAS personnel who have helped me in this capacity during this period.

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2. Comments from the Chair - Roger Blandford

HEAD visits Capitol Hill:

On Wed Oct 13, a delegation of HEAD members visited Capitol Hill in order to explain the high energy astrophysics program to staffers working on science committees and in the offices of their Senators and Representatives. The reception was quite sympathetic and acknowledged the overall success of the current program. The members of the delegation (Blandford, Chakrabarty, Flanagan, Kahn, Murray, Paerels, Reynolds, Schattenburg) also learned much about the political process. The event concluded with a visit to OMB. Thanks are due to Kevin Marvel of the AAS for coordination.

April 2006 APS and Fall 2006 HEAD meetings:

As many HEAD members will be aware, HEAD planned to be a co-host of the Spring 2006 APS meeting to be held in Dallas, April 22-25, to facilitate interaction between the high energy astrophysics and physics communities. The APS Division of Astrophysics (DAP) holds its annual gatherings each April at the APS meeting. Following discussions with Steve Holt, Chair of DAP, and members of the DAP committee, it has been decided that a HEAD meeting coincident with the Spring 2006 APS meeting was not possible. It was decided that HEAD will instead sponsor DAP sessions at the 2006 APS April meeting, including participation in the planning of these. Furthermore, DAP and HEAD will work together in recommending plenary speakers for this APS meeting.

Plans are also underway for a solo HEAD meeting to be held in the fall of 2006, probably in the San Francisco Bay area, and DAP will contribute to the planning of this meeting as well. Details will be emailed to the HEAD membership as they become available. 2006 promises to be a banner year for high energy astrophysics, with the highly anticipated results from Swift and Astro-E2, combined with ongoing efforts from Chandra, XMM-Newton, RHESSI, and HESS, being of broad interest to both physicists and astronomers. Members of both the APS-DAP and AAS-HEAD communities will be strongly encouraged to participate in both the APS and HEAD meetings.

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3. Fourth Schramm Prize Awarded to Oliver Morton - Ilana Harrus, HEAD Press Officer

The 4th David N. Schramm Prize was awarded to Oliver Morton for an article describing the appeal and pitfalls of high-energy neutrino science. The article "Moonshine and Glue" was published in the Spring 2004 issue of "The American Scholar". The prize-winning article describes the difficulties of hunting for high-energy neutrinos. It tackles the science in a thorough but clear way. The article also conveys magnificently the nature of scientific endeavor. The prize was presented to the winner during the HEAD meeting in New Orleans in September by Roger Blandford, Chair of the HEAD Executive Committee. The photographs of the award ceremony are available at: http://lheawww.gsfc.nasa.gov/users/imh/HEAD2004/Schramm.

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4. HEAD in the News (May 2004 - November 2004) - Ilana Harrus, HEAD Press Officer, Christopher Wanjek, Structure and Evolution of the Universe Senior Science Writer, and Megan Watzke, Chandra Press Officer

Now that the elections are over and that the Boston Red Sox have won the world series and passed the "curse of the Bambino" on to the Yankees, HEAD members can concentrate on the next best thing: wonderful results from the on-going and upcoming missions.

Various Items in the News:

November 4, 2004: HESS result on SNR/Cosmic ray connection. In the US, it was reported by the LA Times, Astrobiology Magazine, Space.about.com, Space.com, RedNova, and Yahoo News. This result was covered more extensively in the international press. It was reported abroad by the BBC News, The Register (UK), Daily Times (Pakistan), Economic Times (India), Hindustan Times (India), New Kerala (India), WebIndia (India) and Xinhua (China).

November 1, 2004: SWIFT is coming up! (At the time of writing, SWIFT was on the launch pad, ready to go). The press conference announcing the upcoming launch of the newest NASA satellite was held November 1. There was another press conference a week earlier in England. It was the feature article of Popular Science (Oct issue) and described in a two-page spread in Science. It was also covered by the New York Times, Newsday, Florida Today, the Houston Chronicle, Nature, the BBC, the Guardian , the Register, the Scotsman, the New Statesman, and New Scientist. Also covered by the websites: Space.com, Spaceflight Now, IEEE Spectrum, RedNova.com, TechNewsWorld, PhysOrg.com, Universe Today and the BBC News website. Please note that the press coverage is preliminary since we expect more coverage after launch.

October 26, 2004: Dark matter questions. A Chandra study on NGC 4555, a large elliptical galaxy, which raises new questions on dark matter was covered by New scientist, Science Daily, Universe Today, SpaceFlightNow.com, RedNova.com, ScienceBlog.com and SpaceRef.com.

October 6, 2004: A 400-Year Old Supernova Mystery. A combination of Chandra, Hubble and Spitzer data give new insight in the study of Kepler SNR. This study released on the eve of the 400th anniversary of the supernova event was covered by UPI, Astronomy, Scientific America, Yahoo News, Space.com, MSNBC, Science Daily, Universe Today, Johns Hopkins Gazette, Innovations Report, PhysOrg.com, and APOD.

September 30, 2004: Imminent Supernova. This result was based on a study interpreting X-ray flashes as tools to predict supernova explosions. Based on HETE-2 data, this story got covered by Reuters, LA Times, CNN and CNN international, MSNBC, Space.com, ABC online and The Register (UK).

September 23, 2004: Massive Merger of Galaxies is the Most Powerful on Record. This result, using XMM-Newton data was one of the biggest story of the fall. It was covered by TV stations (CNN, CNN International, MSNBC, ABC News), radio (Voice of America) and a lot of newspapers (New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Dallas Morning News, Honolulu Advertiser, Pacific Business News, New Zealand Herald (New Zealand), Xinhua (China), Independent (South Africa), The Register). It was also reported by the wires (Reuters, UPI, Knight Ridder). The result was also covered by Scientific American, Science News, Sky and Telescope, Astronomy, Space.Com, Spaceflight Now, OregonLive.com, PhysOrg.com, SpaceRef.com, Universe Today, New Scientist, Astronomy Magazine, Science daily, Space.com, New Scientist, ABC Online, stuff.co.nz, ScienceBlog.com and Science Magazine.

September 9-11, 2004 HEAD Meeting: The HEAD meeting in New Orleans triggered a lot of coverage for a couple of the results presented there. The result on a direct measurement of the mass and radius (and a new constraint on the equation of state) of a neutron star was extensively covered by MSNBC, Science, Science Now, Universe Today, the Tuscan Citizen, Space.Com, Science.Blog.com and SpaceRef.com. The result on following doomed matter on its ride around a black hole (and getting a direct measurement on the black hole mass in the process) was reported by MSNBC, Science Magazine, SpaceRef.com, and Space.com.

August 23, 2004: New Image of Cas A. The "first light" snapshot of Cas A was beautiful. The million second exposure image of the SNR was shown in the pages of The New York Times, The Economist, The Boston Globe, The Dallas Morning News, The Advertiser, National Post (CA), The Register (UK), Science News, Science, Nature, Sky & Telescope, Astronomy Magazine, Astrobiology Magazine, MSNBC.com, Yahoo News, Space.com, ScienceBlog.com, Universe Today, SpaceFlightNow.com, and PhysOrg.com.

August 13, 2004: Chandra study of merger in Abell 2125. This result was covered by the BBC News, Aviation Week & Space Technology, SpaceRef.com, Science Daily, Science Blog, SpaceFligthNow.com, PhysOrg.com, and Innovations Report.

August 4, 2004: A New Type of Cosmic Explosion. A study of the gamma-ray burst of December 3 detected by Integral was reported by Caltech astronomers. The result was covered by Reuters, MSNBC, ABC News, North County Times, Independent (South Africa) Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), New Scientist (UK), Physics Web, Science Now, Pasadena Star News, Universe Today, Spaceflight Now, Yahoo News, PhysOrg.com, Space.com and SpaceRef.com.

July 22, 2004: Chandra image of the McNeil's Nebula. This result, showing an X-ray outburst from a young star in the newly discovered "McNeil's Nebula" was covered by NPR (Science Friday), USA Today, Long Beach Press Telegram, ScienceDaily.com, SpaceRef.com, Universe Today, Yahoo News and Ascribe.com.

June 22, 2004: Galactic Center X-ray emission. A result on the surprising conclusions of an analysis of the X-ray emission from the Galactic Center using Chandra data was covered by UPI, The Washington Times, The Register (UK), Scientific American, Yahoo News, Space.com, Universe Today, ScienceBlog.com, Innovations Report and Environmental News Network.

June 01, 2004: Delivered GOODS. A report from the GOODS data (which include Chandra data) on hidden supermassive black holes got the press attention from all over the world. The result was reported by AP, CNN.com and covered by Dallas Morning News, Star Tribune, the Guardian (UK), Sunday Tasmanian (Australia), Science, Sky and Telescope, New Scientist, Yahoo News, EurekAlert, and Innovations Report.

May 18, 2003: Chandra and Dark Energy. This was already covered extensively in the previous "HEAD in the News" in the May 2004 Newsletter, yet this Chandra result on dark energy, continued to receive attention in the media until June. The result was covered by ABC News, the Washington Times, the Christian Science Monitor, US News and World Report, Truth News and India Express.

We also note the following:

  • RedNova (November 10, 2004): Article on a recent result from Chandra and XMM-Newton on the red dwarf Proxima Centauri.
  • New York Times (November 9, 2004): The front page article of the science section was on Supernova and Supernova Explosions.
  • SpaceRef.com (November 8, 2004) covered the results from the InFOCuS successful 20-hour balloon flight in September from Fort Sumner, N.M. InFOCuS, an innovative X-ray telescope with 8-meter focal length, images hard X rays. The team issued an Astronomical Telegraph noting the outburst of the transient X-ray pulsar 4U 0115+634 seen during the balloon flight, imaged at 20-40 keV.
  • Between October 27 and November 2 2004 in Reuters, Melbourne Herald Sun, The South African Star, Los Angeles Times, Daily Times (Pakistan), and Nature.com: Coverage of an article published in Phys Rev Letters on finding supernova debris on Earth.
  • The Age (Australia) (Oct 30, 2004), News.com.au (Australia) (Oct 28, 2004), and ABC.online (Australia) (Oct 27, 2004) ran articles on the effects of cosmic rays on flight attendants.
  • Roanoke Times (Oct 26, 2004), WAVY-TV (Oct 25, 2004), and Richmond Times Dispatch (Oct 24, 2004): Coverage of a group that wrote a proposal to build an underground lab to work on cosmic-rays and "do advanced work in astrophysics and other complicated research."
  • Currents (Oct 22, 2004) reported on Dr. Woosley being awarded the APS's 2005 Hans A. Bethe Prize.
  • Los Alamos Monitor (Oct 15, 2004) published an article on AMANDA, a neutrino detector in Antartica.
  • Black Hills Pioneer (Oct 14, 2004) and Boston Globe (August 17, 2004) covered the future of Homestead, the underground facility for neutrino science.
  • Iowa City Press Citizen (October 10, 2004) published an article in celebration of Van Allen's 90th birthday.
  • Miami Herald (October 9. 2004) and Denver Post (September 13, 2004) covered the possibility of an underground laboratory in the Henderson Mine (Colorado) to do neutrino research.
  • WebIndia123.com (India) (September 26, 2004) and PhysOrg.com (September 22, 2004) reported a HESS result on the Galactic Center.
  • Between September 23 and September 28, 2004 in Innovations Report, SpaceFlight Now, Space.com, PhysOrg.com, ScienceBlog.com, Science Daily and Universe Today: Articles on Chandra analysis of the Mouse and a detailed study of the high-energy particles around a fast moving pulsar.
  • The Australian (Australia) (September 20, 2004), ABC Science Online (September 14, 2004) and PhysOrg.com (September 14, 2004) covered a new method on using cosmic rays to generate random numbers for cryptography.
  • The Chicago Tribune (September 19, 2004) published an article on two local students working on measuring the number of cosmic rays that hit the grounds of their high-school.
  • Space.com (September 11, 2004) showed the first XMM-Newton image of Jupiter.
  • Universe Today (September 9, 2004) published an article on a camera being build by ESA for GAIA. The article mentioned the camera aboard XMM-Newton.
  • Between August 26 and September 9 2004 in Spaceref.com, PhysOrg.com, KSL-TV, Mail & Guardian (South Africa), Knight Rider, The Casper Star Tribune, Billings Gazette, and Detroit Free Press published articles on a new cosmic-ray detector being built in Utah.
  • Between September 8 and September 10 in SpaceRef.com, Science Daily, Space Flight Now, PhysOrg.com, ScienceBlog.com covered a Chandra study of the Fornax cluster.
  • SpaceRef.com (September 6, 2004) published an article introducing SWIFT science and gamma ray bursts.
  • Economic Times (India) (September 6, 2004) published an article on supernova explosions.
  • Lamar Daily News (September 3, 2004) published an article on local high-school students who are working on AUGER project.
  • Universe Today (September 3, 2004) gave an update on Gravity Probe B.
  • Science (September 2, 2004) and Science Magazine (August 5, 2004) published articles on HESS upcoming inauguration.
  • CERN Courier (September 2004): Article on the INTEGRAL result on the gamma-ray burst.
  • Mumbai Newsline (India) (August 30, 2004) had an article on a new Indian satellite devoted to X-ray astronomy and scheduled to launch in 2007.
  • PhysOrg.com (August 12, 2004) had a commemorative article to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Chandra first light.
  • SpaceRef.com (August 10, 2004) had an article on this year winner of the David N. Schramm Award.
  • PhysOrg.com (August 5, 2004) had an article on high-energy emission from black holes.
  • New York Times (August 2, 2004) covered another "sound" from a black hole result (this time M87 is playing the cannon of the 1812 overture).
  • Universe Today and PhysOrg.com (July 29, 2004) covered the move of SWIFT to Florida in preparation of the launch in the fall.
  • Universe Today (July 29, 2004) published an article on the Chandra image of the Quintuplet Cluster.
  • Science Daily (July 21, 2004), SpaceRef.com and Universe Today (July 20, 2004) covered a result on Black Holes using data from XMM-Newton and Integral.
  • NewScientist.com (July 21, 2004) published an article on recent simulations explaining the X-ray emission in cluster of galaxies.
  • Universe Today (July 19, 2004) and Yahoo News (July 16, 2004) reported on a hot spot found on Geminga using XMM-Newton.
  • Seattle Times (July 19, 2004) published an article on the controversy over the building of a neutrino lab under Cashmere Mountain.
  • PennState Live (July 12, 2004), Spaceflight Now and UPI (July 6, 2004) covered the findings on a rare quadruple quasar, observed by Chandra, magnified by a single star in a foreground galaxy.
  • Articles published between June 28 and July 8, Universe Today, Science Magazine, and MSNBC described a study on H1504+65 using FUSE and Chandra data.
  • Yahoo News and Innovations report (July 8, 2004) reported the announcement of the release of software to convert FITS image files (used in X-ray astronomy) to a format understood by Photoshop.
  • Stanford Report (July 7, 2004) reported on the new Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC).
  • CERN Courier (July-August 2004) contains an article on the constraint on dark energy put by the Chandra X-ray observatory. Also: A composite image of W49B was the featured "Picture of the Month". Data from the Chandra X-ray observatory and Infra-red from the Palomar were used to generate the image.
  • SpaceRef (June 24, 2004) announced the release of a movie based on data from the GOODS project (including images from Chandra).
  • Science Now (June 23, 2004) and Spaceflight Now (June 18, 2004) published articles on supermassive black holes formation based on Chandra data.
  • PhysicsWeb.org (UK) (June 16, 2004) announced the winners of a $1.3 million outreach award to introduce high-school students to astrophysics and cosmic-ray studies.
  • Yahoo News, Space.com (June 8, 2004) and Universe Today and PhysicsWeb.org (UK) (June 2, 2004) reported on a new result on intermediate mass black holes using Chandra and XMM-Newton data.
  • UPI (June 2, 2004), Spaceflight Now and Universe Today (June 3, 2004) published articles on the Chandra analysis of SNR W49B. The picture was also published in the July-August issue of the "CERN Courier".
  • Cincinnati Enquirer (May 31, 2004) published a small article on a local high-school student who got a grant to study acceleration of cosmic rays in supernovae at Fermilab.
  • Science News (May 21, 2004) had an article on DUO, the Dark Universe Observatory.
  • Science News (May 21, 2004) published an article on Martin Weisskopf (co-winner of the 2004 Rossi Prize) who received a Presidential Rank Award, one of the highest recognitions for government service work.

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.

Please see: http://universe.gsfc.nasa.gov/press/2004/ for press releases issued in 2004 on subjects linked to the Structure & Evolution of the Universe. There is a large overlap with what is presented below.

November 8, 2004: http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/starsgalaxies/infocus_firstlight.html

November 4, 2004: http://www.pparc.ac.uk/Nw/Md/Artcl/SNR_HESS.asp

November 1, 2004: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2004/nov/HQ_04360_swift_prelaunch.html

October 26, 2004: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/04_releases/press_102604.html

October 25, 2004: http://www.pparc.ac.uk/Nw/Swift_launch.asp

October 21, 2004: http://www.ucsc.edu/news_events/press_releases/text.asp?pid=585

October 18, 2004: http://www.pparc.ac.uk/Nw/swiftbriefinvite.asp

October 6, 2004: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/04_releases/press_100604.html

September 30, 2004: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2004/sep/HQ_04324_supernova.html

September 23, 2004: http://www.pparc.ac.uk/Nw/SgrA.asp http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/04_releases/press_092304.html http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/news-release/releases/2004/h04-310.htm

September 22, 2004: http://www.swri.edu/9what/releases/2004/ESA.htm

September 14, 2004: http://www.pparc.ac.uk/Nw/Robonet.asp

September 9, 2004: http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/news/press/dpp/2004090901

September 8, 2004: http://uanews.org/cgi-bin/WebObjects/UANews.woa/9/wa/SRStoryDetails?ArticleID=9645 http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/2004/0908nsmatter.html http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/04_releases/press_090804.html

September 2, 2004: http://www.pparc.ac.uk/Nw/soho15.asp

August 26, 2004: http://www.utah.edu/unews/releases/04/aug/tagroundbreak.html

August 23, 2004: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/04_releases/press_082304.html

August 13, 2004: http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/news-release/releases/2004/04-045.htm http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/04_releases/press_081304.html

August 9, 2004: http://www.aas.org/head/schramm/schramm04PR.doc

August 5, 2004: http://www.esa.int/esaSC/Pr_18_2004_s_en.html http://pr.caltech.edu/media/Press_Releases/PR12564.html http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/04_releases/press_080404.html

July 29, 2004: http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Swift7-2004.htm

July 27, 2004: http://www.uwnews.org/article.asp?articleID=5166

July 22, 2004: http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/04_releases/press_072204.html

July 20, 2004: http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/news-release/releases/2004/04-037.htm http://www.esa.int/esaSC/Pr_16_2004_s_en.html

July 15, 2004: http://t2wesa.r3h.net/esaSC/Pr_15_2004_s_en.html

July 6, 2004: http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Chartas6-2004.htm http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/04_releases/press_070604.html

June 24, 2004: http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Brandt6-2004.htm

June 22, 2004: http://www.msfc.nasa.gov/news/news/releases/2004/04-169.html

June 21, 2004: http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/news-release/releases/2004/04-25.htm

June 18, 2004: http://www.stanford.edu/dept/news/pr/2004/blazar-77.html

May 24, 2004: http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Bruegmann5-2004.htm

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

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5. INTEGRAL Mission News - Chris Winkler, INTEGRAL Project Scientist, and Chris Shrader, Guest Observer Facility, NASA/GSFC

3rd Announcement of Opportunity (AO-3)

The deadline for submission of INTEGRAL proposals for AO-3 open time observations was 29 October 2004. Below are some preliminary statistics on the proposals that have been received.

The total number of proposals received was 108. The total observing time requested in all proposals is approximately 111 Msec (for all types of observation, i.e. fixed time, normal time, and TOO). Here, 10% of the requested total TOO time has been taken into account. Given that up to about 27 Msec of observing time are available for the AO-3 observing programme (18 months duration starting on 18 February 2005), this corresponds to an oversubscription by a factor of about 4.1 (see details below). This is a very high value, showing the continued high interest of the scientific community in the INTEGRAL mission.

In the following table we give the breakdown of number of proposals as a function of the proposal category. Note that the numbers on requested observing times do include TOO proposals, but it has been assumed here, that a typical TOO proposal requests about 10% of its total observing time. Further analysis may modify this assumption but the impact on the overall results should not be large.

Category Proposals Requested Time (10^6 s) Oversubscription
Compact objects 54 27.7 1.03
Extragalactic objects 25 39.9 1.48
Nucleosynthesis 15 36.5 1.35
Miscellaneous (incl. GRB) 14 7.1 0.26
Total 108 111.2 4.12

In number of proposals the Compact objects category is the biggest, followed by the Extragalactic objects category. Nucleosynthesis and Miscellaneous are clearly smaller. In amount of requested observing time per proposal, however, the Nucleosynthesis category is significantly larger.

The Time Allocation Committee, in charge of peer reviewing all proposals, and recommending the scientific observing programme to ESA, will meet in December at ESTEC, followed by ESA's announcement of the final AO-3 observing programme towards the end of 2004. Observations of the AO-3 cycle will commence on 18 February 2004.

NASA Archival and Theory Announcement of Opportunity

As in past mission cycles, NASA will solicit grant support proposals from ESA-selected US INTEGRAL AO-3 Guest Observers. In addition, limited support for INTEGRAL archival and theoretical research will be available during AO-3. Details will be announced in a call for proposals to be issued as an amendment to the ROSS NRA, on or shortly after November 15, 2004: http://research.hq.nasa.gov/code_s/nra/current/NNH04ZSS001N/index.html. Both types of proposals will be due in mid February, 2005.

Recent Science Highlights

Most of September and October 2004 have been devoted to observations of the Galactic Centre region (GCDE and Open Time proposals). It was only `interrupted' by observations of the Sagittarius Arm region (including GRS 1915+105), IC443, a TOO on 4U 0115+63 (see below), the GPS and calibration observations of the Crab. Now that the visibility window for the Galactic Centre has been closed again, we focus on observations of the Cygnus X region and Cas A, as well as performing various coordinated observations with XMM-Newton, Chandra and/or RXTE (GRS 1915+105, Cygnus X-1, NGC 7172, and 3C 273), see http://www.rssd.esa.int/Integral/isoc/html/schedules/AO2_Long_Term_Plan.html.

During the last Galactic Centre visibility period a couple of new transient sources were discovered by INTEGRAL, i.e. IGR J16465-4507 (ATel #329), IGR J17331-2406 (ATel #328) and IGR J17407-2808 (ATel #345; see also GCN 2793). IGR J18410-0535 (ATel #340) was reported as a possible new source, however, it is uncomfortably close (~7 arcmin) to another (faint) INTEGRAL source, IGR J18406-0539. A relatively old transient was seen to become active again as well: XTE J1743-363 (ATel #332). SGR 1806-20 continues to be in an active bursting state (GCN 2706, 2760, 2763, 2764, 2823, 2827, 2831). At a completely different location, during GPS observations, the well-known X-ray transient pulsar 4U 0115+634 was found to go into a long-awaited outburst (ATel #326, #331); at first it triggered IBAS alerts (GCN 2704). The outburst triggered an Open Time observation, which was performed at the end of September.

Only two GRBs appeared in the field-of-view since the last ISOC Newsletter. These were a soft one lasting ~10 sec (GRB 040903; GCN 2690, 2691, 2693), probably an X-ray flash (GCN 2699), and a faint ~30 sec long one (GRB 041015; GCN 2805).

Nucleosynthesis observations in particular need long integration times, in order to well resolve line emission. INTEGRAL has by now pretty much covered most of the sky. Using the SPI instrument a systematic search for 511 keV emission (resulting from positron-electron annihilation) was performed. The emission is - so far - only seen towards the center of our Galaxy (see the INTEGRAL Picture of the Month for November: http://www.rssd.esa.int/ Integral/POMNov2004.html). The spatial distribution of the emission is equally compatible with galactic bulge or halo distributions, the combination of a bulge and a disk component, or a combination of a number of point sources. Such distributions are expected if positrons originate either from low-mass X-ray binaries, novae, Type Ia supernovae, or, even more exciting, possibly light dark matter. This exciting new result made it into the News Focus of Science (2004, vol. 305, p. 1899), reporting from the September 7-11 Meeting of the AAS High Energy Astrophysics Division.

Mission Status

INTEGRAL continues to operate smoothly with all the spacecraft sub-systems performing nominally. Fuel consumption remains low at around 0.1 kg/week, with approximately 167 kg remaining as of October 2004. The power sub-system is working nominally with about 2100 W available from the solar arrays. This is sufficient power to continue operations at a solar pitch angle of 40deg for the foreseeable future. Thermal control is working nominally and all temperatures are as expected. The spacecraft orbit control is working satisfactorily by choosing the pointing positions and times around the orbit when momentum wheel dumps take place. This active control is necessary to ensure ground station coverage down to 40,000 km and long enough overlap between the NASA Goldstone and ESA Redu ground stations to allow smooth handovers.

Investigations are continuing on the failure of SPI Ge detector #17 in July 2004. This is the second detector failure, following that of #2 in December 2003. From the observed symptoms and analysis of the data obtained during recovery attempts, the two detectors appear to have failed in different ways, although the cause could be the same. In order to investigate whether there is any link with the annealing, which in both cases occurred some 2 weeks before the failures, the PI is conducting a thermal vacuum test using Flight Spare hardware. The equipment is being subjected to the same thermal profile as during annealing in order to investigate the failure mechanism. In addition, thermal tests of individual components and computer modelling simulations are being conducted at ESTEC. It is expected that these tests will be completed by the end of December 2004, so that a decision can be made on whether to proceed with the next annealing in around January 2005.

Preparations for the move of the ISOC from ESTEC (The Netherlands) to ESAC (Spain) continue and most of the computer hardware needed by the ISOC is now in place. It is expected that following an overlap period where science operations will be conducted in parallel from both ESTEC and ESAC, the transfer to ESAC control will occur at the start of AO-3 observations. L. O'Rouke, a software integration engineer, has joined the ISOC team for 6 months during the transition. P. Kretschmar and E. Kuulkers will join the ISOC team in ESAC as staff from 1 January 2005. It is expected that an additional contractor operations scientist position will be announced shortly.

INTEGRAL Public Data Archive

After a proprietary period of one year, INTE- GRAL data become publicly available via the INTEGRAL archive. The year is counted from the time data are distributed to the PI of the observation. For the sake of simplicity, the data are made public revolution by revolution. The only exception to this rule is calibration data, for which there is no proprietary period and is therefore available immediately after it has been ingested into the INTEGRAL archive. The timetable as to when data will be made public can be found at http://isdc.unige.ch/index.cgi?Data+release. As of the beginning of November the data from following revolutions have been made publicly available: 1-80, 89- 97, 100-103, 116-118. Contemporaneous dates of data releases are as follows: data from revolutions 98, 99, 104-106, 109, 119-122 became publicly available on November 19, 2004, and data from revolutions 107, 108, 110-115, 130 will become publicly available on December 10, 2004.

We also wish to bring to your attention the recent opening of the NASA/GSFC mirror of the INTEGRAL public data archive. All INTEGRAL data up to about August 2003 are now available through the HEASARC archives (in addition to the primary mission archive at the INTEGRAL Science Data Center in Geneva). In addition to the basic data products, the GSFC INTEGRAL GOF and ISDC have jointly prepared separate databases of high-level data products, searchable through the HEASARC Browse system, such as an INTEGRAL bright source catalog, a published point source catalog, and a summary results catalog. Each of these can be cross-correlated with other HEASARC database tables, and can serve as a useful roadmap to the INTEGRAL database for prospective researchers.

For additional information, please refer to the INTEGRAL GOF WWW pages: http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/integral/integralgof.html.

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6. XMM-Newton Mission News - Steve Snowden, NASA/GSFC, and Phil Plait, Sonoma State University

XMM-Newton Mission:

The response to the XMM-Newton AO-4 call for proposals was enthusiastic with 657 proposals submitted. The total time requested was up 3% from AO-3 at 101.7 Ms. With 14.5 Ms of available time this is an oversubscription rate of 7. There are 484 individual PIs from 23 countries, with ~1600 scientists from 35 countries involved including Co-Is.

The proposal reviews are taking place and the results should be announced in 2004 December or 2005 January.

XMM-Newton E/PO News:

The XMM-Newton-sponsored StarLab inflatable planetarium show, "The Xtreme Universe" has been making progress. The first draft of the cylinder has been completed, and is being reviewed internally at Sonoma State University (SSU). After the review, a script will be written for teachers to use with the cylinder. Supplemental classroom activities are also being developed.

The computer-based CLEA (Contemporary Laboratory Experiences in Astronomy) activity has been making progress. In this activity, students will fit X-ray spectra of the Cas A supernova remnant and investigate the varying elemental abundances in it. The current version was tested by students at SSU, and their comments have been used to revise the software. The beta version can be downloaded from: http://xmm.sonoma.edu/edu/clea/index.html. The teacher's manual for the activity is currently being written.

We have developed the first activity and background material for the Supernova Educator Unit. This is being jointly developed for GLAST and XMM-Newton. It features an Excel spreadsheet in which abundances of elements can be manipulated and the resulting light curve from radioactive decay can be compared to actual data. This activity was demonstrated to the Quarknet teachers at the workshop we held in conjunction with the Beyond Einstein meeting at Stanford in May, 2004. Work is in progress to write up this activity in our instructional design format and further activities are in the design phase. For more information, or to download the Excel spreadsheet, see: http://xmm.sonoma.edu/edu/supernova/index.html.

The SSU E/PO group designed a ruler as a giveaway item to teachers and scientists. The ruler is transparent and has an insert with images from XMM-Newton on one side, and explanations on the back. This has proven to be a big hit at education and science meetings. See http://xmm.sonoma.edu/edu/ruler.html for more information.

The combined Swift/GLAST/XMM-Newton booth appeared at several conferences. See the Swift HEAD entry for more information. The XMM-Newton E/PO poster was also presented at the New Orleans HEAD meeting.

In the fall of 2003, Tom Estill and Chris Royce, who were formerly supported as Educator Ambassadors (EAs) by the SEU Education Forum, became XMM-Newton Educator Ambassadors. They were previously trained for 1 week at Sonoma State University in the summer of 2002. They joined with 21 other EAs, supported by different NASA Projects for ten days of additional training at Sonoma State University in the summer of 2004. Since May, they have given three educator workshops.

Work continues on the integration of the XMM-Newton mission with the Global Telescope Network (GTN; see the GLAST HEAD entry for more information). The GTN telescopes are beginning to view a selection of polars, a class of objects that will also be observed by XMM-Newton. We are working with the AAVSO to arrange for polar monitoring observations using finding charts, and standard star sequences for the selected group of polars. These are now on the GTN web site: http://gtn.sonoma.edu/observing_program.html#polars.

For more information about XMM-Newton E/PO, please visit http://xmm.sonoma.edu.

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7. GLAST Mission News - Christopher Wanjek, NASA/GSFC, Phil Plait and Lynn Cominsky, Sonoma State University

The LAT (Large Area Telescope) development moves forward. All silicon sensors for the Tracking Detector (TKR) have been delivered and tested, and they significantly exceed the specifications. The first TKR tower is expected to be shipped from Italy to SLAC by the end of 2004. All the calorimeter structures have been delivered to NRL from France. The first complete calorimeter module pre-ship review on November 12 was successful and the expected delivery to SLAC is the first week of December. The Anticoincidence Detector (ACD) mechanical structure is complete and tested, and detectors are now being mounted on it. The LAT electronics testbed and front-end simulator are now fully operational. Important progress has been made on flight software testing and data system testing as well. However, earlier production ramp-up problems eroded schedule contingency for the LAT. Given the stage of the project, it was deemed necessary to restore schedule contingency, resulting in a slip of the launch date, which had been February 28, 2007. NASA and DOE, in consultation with the international partners, are currently rebaselining the schedule for the LAT. The current estimated launch date is in May 2007.

GLAST Burst Monitor (GBM) development has also progressed. "Build 1" of the flight software has been completed and tested. A thermal design has been successfully completed. Detector engineering modules are in construction. And a test readiness review has been conducted in Germany.

There is much science-related activity to report since the last HEAD newsletter. A weeklong LAT team meeting was held at the end of September at Stanford/SLAC. Highlights included an instrument test data analysis workshop, organized by Eduardo do Couto e Silva; an overview of hardware status and detailed testing plans, planning for science operations, and goals for the second Data Challenge (summer 2005); and a joint mini-symposium (with the Science Working Group) on GeV-TeV Astrophysics in the GLAST Era, organized by Julie McEnery, which included presentations on the status of the major ground-based gamma-ray and neutrino observatories, along with a focus on science topics and useful discussions about future cooperation. At the end of the week, there was a SWG business meeting. The GLAST Users Committee met at NASA Goddard in August to discuss science operations policies, and year-1 data releases; the next meeting is in March 2005. The GUC Chair is now Josh Grindlay. GLAST had a successful mission CDR during the week of September 20th at NASA Goddard. This was preceded by many months of detailed subsystem peer reviews and CDRs of the individual mission elements.

GLAST was the topic of a special session at the New Orleans HEAD meeting. The session was very well attended. Topics included mission overview status, by Steve Ritz; X-ray astronomy and GLAST, by Richard Mushotzky; the infrared / gamma-ray connection for AGN, by Ann Wehrle; and blazars, pulsars, and unidentified sources, by Roger Romani. Dave Thompson (LAT Multiwavelength Coordinator) spoke during the VERITAS Workshop on the following day. GLAST had several posters and an E/PO booth at the meeting.


Six new GLAST Educator Ambassadors (EAs) were trained at an intensive 10-day session Sonoma State University over the summer of 2004, bringing the total number of GLAST EAs to 10. The new EAs are: Jeff Adkins, Sharla Dowding, Dee Duncan, Walter Glogowski, Ellen Holmes and Pamela Whiffen. Sharla Dowding won the Wyoming Biology Teacher of the Year Award for 2004, presented by the National Biology Teachers Assocation. Teena Della won a $1000 travel award to the Canadian Space Educator Agency Educator Conference in Montreal, Quebec as a result of an essay she wrote about space travel. Jeff Adkins won the Antioch Teacher of the Year Award presented by the Antioch (California) Unified School District and his web site (http://astronomyteacher.com) was selected by the Griffith Observatory for a Star Award. Ellen Holmes won the New England Region AIAA Excellence in Aerospace Education Award for 2004. For more about the GLAST Educator Ambassador Program see: http://glast.sonoma.edu/ambassadors/index.html.

Since May, the GLAST EAs have given over 20 workshops and reached hundreds of teachers across the country and Canada. During that time, the combined Swift/GLAST booth appeared at numerous science and education meetings as well, including the SLAC Community Day in April in Stanford, CA; the AAS meeting in May in Denver, CO; the American Association Physics Teachers national meeting in July/August in Sacramento, CA; the HEAD meeting in September in New Orleans, LA; SLAC Family Day in September in Stanford, CA; and the California Science Teachers Association meeting in October, in San Jose, CA. The GLAST E/PO program poster was also presented at the New Orleans HEAD meeting.

A draft of the second module of the TOPS Learning Systems activity series, "Scaling the Universe" is now in its final review and should be printed by December 2004. A draft of the third module is currently being created. The third module features simple exercises that explore the angular sizes of common objects as well as objects in the Universe.

A pop-up book showing the nucleus of an active galaxy is being created for younger students. It includes a "Just-So" story entitled "How the Galaxy Got its Jets," and a glossary. It also includes the "Tasty Active Galaxy" activity, in which students can make a model of the nucleus of an active galaxy out of edible materials, including a bagel (the dust torus), ice cream cones (the jets), and a donut hole (the black hole). The activity has been extensively tested and is both fun and delicious. The activity and other pop-up book images can be found here: http://glast.sonoma.edu/teachers/popup.html.

A GLAST-sponsored Space Mystery -- interactive, web-based activities which put students in the role of "space sleuth" -- is being created to teach students about galaxies in general and active galaxies in particular, with the final investigation being whether the Milky Way is an active galaxy or not. This Mystery is currently in the production stage.

GLAST and XMM-Newton E/PO are jointly sponsoring a Supernova Educators Unit with a series of classroom activities. Please see the XMM-Newton entry for more information.

Other GLAST E/PO products include GLAST stickers designed by the GLAST E/PO artist Aurore Simonnet; a GLAST card game in the final stages of development; the GLAST public brochure; and an article Phil Plait authored an article entitled "Into The Wild Gamma-ray Yonder" that appeared in the November/December 2003 issue of Stardate magazine. GLAST materials are also being used in the "Modeling the Universe" short course, a seminar/workshop given to teachers using SEU-sponsored E/PO products to teach them about the size and scale of the Universe and the astronomical objects in it.

The GLAST Optical Robotic Telescope (GORT) observatory had its first light on July 24th, 2004. The celebration coincided with the biannual teacher training of the (EAs), who were able to experiment first-hand with GORT, and see how GORT and the GLAST-sponsored Global Telescope network could help them in their classrooms, and with the instruction of other teachers. The GTN website has also undergone a major renovation with the goal of integrating our communication tools and astronomy widgets to create a series of loosely formatted activities that students and teachers could use at whatever level they wanted. During this period of GTN development the AAVSO was modifying their photometric data archives to include all of our GTN program objects as well as several other modifications to their protocols in order to better facilitate the GTN (http://glast.sonoma.edu/gtn).

The UC Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics (SCIPP) conducts workshops for students and teachers throughout the year. A major event for both teachers and students is the yearly "Balloon Fest" in which groups of students compete to build experiments to be launched using weather balloons. These experiments return data, which are analyzed and then presented to the other competitors and judges. The GLAST E/PO group sent Prof. Gordon Spear, Tim Graves, Gray Slater and student Dakota Decker to this year's Balloon Fest, which was held April 2-3, 2004 in Paso Robles, California. Dr. Spear gave a talk about the Global Telescope Network and Graves, Slater and Decker assisted the competing teams and with the judging. This was followed by a one-week teacher workshop to continue the balloon experiment data analysis, held July 5-9, 2004.

For more information about the GLAST E/PO effort, please visit http://glast.sonoma.edu.

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

The Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) has passed its 1000th day in excellent health and continues to perform solar observations and accumulate exposure to the entire sky for non-solar astrophysics. Since we vented the cryostat holding the germanium detectors to space earlier this year, the performance of the cryocooler, which was declining during the first two years of the mission, has actually turned around and begun to improve. Detector #2, which was performing poorly for most of the mission, has also improved, and its rear segment can now be used for astrophysics.

In June of this year, approximately one week of good imaging data on the Crab Nebula was obtained, and this difficult analysis is in progress, with the prospect of 5" or possibly better resolution up to about 100 keV. Other astrophysical projects in progress include the study of Galactic gamma-ray lines from recent nucleosynthesis (which is becoming more difficult as the detectors accumulate radiation damage -- annealing is possible but not likely in the near future), the use of detector/detector occultation to monitor bright Galactic point sources, gamma-ray burst and soft-gamma-repeater spectroscopy, and tracking of the pulse periods in the brightest accreting pulsars to study accretion torques. RHESSI data are public, and anyone interested in analyzing RHESSI data for astrophysics should contact David Smith for help with access (dsmith (at) scipp.ucsc.edu).

RHESSI solar results will be presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall meeting in San Francisco, December 13-17, and at the RHESSI/SOHO/TRACE workshop in Sonoma, CA, December 8-11.

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9. HETE Mission News - George Ricker, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Don Lamb, University of Chicago

Now completing its fourth year of operations, HETE continues to provide the observer community with prompt, accurate localizations and spectral characteristics of GRB sources. The HETE spacecraft and dedicated ground network continue to operate reliably and efficiently. All three science instruments (i.e., the gamma-ray [Fregate], the medium energy X-ray [WXM], and the soft X-ray cameras [SXC]) continue to work well. HETE is currently localizing ~20-25 GRBs per year, with 75 GRBs localized thus far in 4 years of operation. HETE's localization sample includes 23 X-ray flashes (XRFs). Twenty-nine HETE localizations have led to detection of an X-ray, optical or radio afterglow. Redshifts have been reported for 17 HETE-localized GRBs. The harvest from SXC-refined localizations of initial WXM detections continues to be particularly rich, with 15 of 17 recent localizations resulting in optical or near IR counterparts; i.e., 88% have IR or optical counterparts. Thus, almost no SXC-localized bursts have been optically dark.

During the past year, the increasing number of HETE bursts that have measured redshifts and that are well-characterized spectrally has greatly extended the range and robustness of the so-called "Amati relation," which correlates Epeak, the value of the peak energy of the spectrum in nFn, to the burst isotropic energy, Eiso (Amati et al. 2000). Atteia (2003) has utilized this relation to establish an empirical burst redshift estimator that is accurate to a factor of ~1.3. Based on this estimator, Atteia (2004) suggests that ~10% of HETE-localized GRBs are at redshifts z>6 and that one in particular (GRB031026) may have occurred at z~14. More recently, Ghirlanda et al. (2004) and Dai et al. (2004) have argued that a model-dependent correction of the prompt burst energy for the jet opening angle results in a surprisingly accurate "standard ruler" applicable to cosmography for redshifts up to z~10, well beyond the range z=0 to z~1.5 currently accessible for Type Ia supernovae. Increased numbers of well-measured bursts by HETE and Swift will be important to test and calibrate this promising new methodology, as emphasized by Friedman and Bloom (2004).

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

The launch of Swift is expected very shortly. We look forward to a scientific partnership between HETE and Swift in which HETE rapidly localizes many XRFs and characterizes their spectra, and Swift slews to these events, bringing its XRT and UVOT instruments to bear on them and determining their redshifts. In this way, HETE can increase by a factor ~10 the number of XRFs with Epeak < 5 keV and by a factor ~3 the number of XRFs with Epeak < 10 keV that Swift can follow up for X-ray and optical afterglows. HETE also synergizes with Swift in three crucial ways:

  • HETE can approximately double the number of very bright GRBs at z < 0.5 that Swift's XRT and UVOT can follow up: these bursts are crucial for understanding the GRB-SN connection.
  • HETE can approximately double the number of bright GRBs at z > 5 that Swift can follow up: these bursts are crucial for using GRBs as probes of the very high z universe.
  • HETE can provide prompt fluences (Sbolometric), and spectral parameters (Epeak) for HETE bursts that Swift can follow up: these data are crucial for confirming that the Eiso-Epeak relation extends to XRFs and for confirming strong GRB evolution with redshift.

The scientific discoveries that HETE has made, the ways in which it is complementary to and synergizes with Swift, and its low operating cost make a compelling case for continuing the HETE mission during the Swift mission. Recognizing this, the 2004 NASA Senior Review recommended that HETE mission operations overlap with Swift mission operations for at least one year, with the possibility of a further extension, to fully exploit the scientific partnership between HETE and Swift.

The HETE Science Team is providing a variety of calibrated data products to the observer community in near-real time. Complete Fregate light curves and the results of first-cut spectral analyses are posted to the HETE web page (http://space.mit.edu/HETE/Bursts/) within minutes of reception of the full burst data set from the satellite. The automatic spectral fits are derived from triggered data from the Fregate instrument for bursts localized by the WXM and/or the SXC. At present, the following information is posted: spectral fits to the data; calculated values of Epeak; the 25-100 keV fluence; the burst duration; and a plot of the spectral fit generated by XSPEC (to allow any interested observer the opportunity to check the automated results). The results for a typical burst are posted between 20 and 90 minutes after the burst, depending on the location of HETE in its orbit at the time of the trigger. Further details and caveats on the method are described at http://space.mit.edu/HETE/Bursts/).

The burst web page includes color-color plots of the Fregate band C (30-400 keV) to band A (7-40 keV) vs. band B (7-80 keV) to band A ratios, which the HETE Science Team has found to be an excellent means of identifying XRFs. Light curves and results of spectral analyses available for the full set of localized GRBs detected by HETE are also posted, beginning with bursts localized in December 2000. Also posted for each burst are the burst name, classification, J2000 coordinates, redshift (if known), Epeak, t90, fluence (30-400 keV), light curve, and a sky map. These data are accessible at http://space.mit.edu/HETE/Bursts/Data/. A description of the relevant data sets and details regarding their analysis is also provided on this page; more exhaustive descriptions of the spectral and temporal properties of these bursts, including references, are being systematically published in refereed journals.

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

The Chandra Observatory continued to operate with excellent spacecraft and science instrument performance during the last six months. Chandra passed the major milestone of 5 years of successful science operations on July 23.

Operations highlights have included the completion in July of the summer eclipse season with nominal power and thermal performance, the uplink in August of a flight software patch to implement an improved approach to patching the safemode computer during safe mode transitions and eclipse operations, an aspect camera dark current calibration that indicates nominal trends warm pixels, and overall excellent continued spacecraft performance as indicated by the mission metrics.

The operations team successfully faced a series of challenges during the summer eclipse season. Special preparations were made for a penumbra-only eclipse, including a full ground simulation and a series of contingency software patches. In addition, contingency actions were required for 3 of the eclipses when the radiation safing stored command sequence ran just prior to eclipse due to puffed up radiation belts. All contingency actions (some under time pressure) were handled expertly by the team and procedures to resume science were completed efficiently.

The EPHIN radiation detector has continued to exhibit occasional cases of anomalous behavior due to high temperatures resulting from increased thermal environments. The mission planning team are working to minimize high temperature attitudes and the engineering team are nearing completion of a flight software change to allow the use of the HRC anto-coincidence shield data in place of EPHIN data for radiation detection. A patch allowing the on-board computer to read HRC data in place of EPHIN data was uplinked on 1 Sept.

The overall average observing efficiency was 65% during the last 6 months, somewhat lower than the expected ~70%, due primarily to solar activity in June, July and November. The schedule was also interrupted 7 times to observe fast turn-around Targets of Opportunity that required schedule replans with response times ranging from 1 to 3 days.

Both the ACIS and HRC focal plane instruments have continued to operate well overall. In September, the Chandra project decided to postpone indefinitely the bakeout of the ACIS instrument. The purpose of the bakeout is to remove much or most of the contaminant believed to be present on the ACIS Optical Blocking Filter (OBF). The major effect of the contaminant is to reduce the ACIS effective area at lower energies. There are two reasons for the delay. The proposed bakeout intended to use additional heaters on the Science Instrument Module (SIM) to heat the ACIS aperture in the SIM and the top of the ACIS collimator to improve the effectiveness of the bakeout. A safety review revealed a concern that the heaters may pose a threat to other heaters located on the same circuit. Second, further analysis of the rate at which the contaminant(s) have built up in the centers and edges of the OBFs indicates that the contaminant(s) might be less volatile than what was assumed in the simulations of the bakeout. The team will continue to investigate the feasibility of a bakeout of the ACIS instrument.

A flight software patch to ACIS was made in June to correct an occasional error in its raw-mode in which rows of CCD pixels are dropped from output telemetry. The patch also provided a modification that will allow for the future addition of timed-exposure modes without increasing code or testing complexity.

The processing, archiving and distribution of Chandra data has continued without issues, 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 remaining at ~200 to ~300 GB per month.

The Control Center ground team has completed the initial development and configuration phase of a port of the ground system software to Linux, and will begin the testing phase in December. The system is planned for operational use in the first Quarter of next year.

The observing program is expected to transition from Cycle 5 to Cycle 6 in December as planned and the Cycle 7 Call for Proposals will be issued in mid-December.

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11. Swift Mission News - Lynn Cominsky and Phil Plait, Sonoma State University

After enduring 3 hurricanes and some faulty rocket parts, Swift blasted into orbit at 12:16 PM on Saturday November 20, 2004. A dedicated group from the Swift team and their families remained in Florida to witness the picture-perfect launch from pad 17A at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. A film crew from Thomas Lucas productions was also on hand to capture the launch excitement. The spacecraft separated from the rocket after about 80 minutes, the solar panels deployed and telemetry began flowing to the Penn State Mission Operations Center. Daily updates from Mission Director John Nousek can be read at: http://swift.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/swift/status/status_log.html.

Swift is now being controlled from the Mission Operations Center at Penn State, and is in the checkout phase for up to 45 days. During this time, the spacecraft will be fully exercised, and within about 3 weeks, all three scientific instruments will become fully operational. Following the checkout phase, a 90-day verification phase will occur. Burst results will begin to be reported to the GCN during this period following confirmation analysis by the BAT team, while public data will be available through the HEASARC following the end of the verification.

Earlier in the week, the launch was delayed for three days, as engineers and rocket scientists tried to pin down the source of some garbled communications from the "command-destruct" electronics on board the Boeing Delta II 7320 rocket. When their debugging efforts proved fruitless, new parts were flown in and installed and tested, resulting in a 3-day delay in the launch.

Two press briefings were held on Tuesday November 13: the first discussed the Swift science goals, and featured Paul Hertz (NASA HQ), Principal Investigator Neil Gehrels (GSFC), UK lead Alan Wells (Leicester) and Italian lead Guido Chincarini (Brera Observatory). The pre-launch briefing discussed the launch conditions, flight plans and weather, and included Anne Kinney (NASA HQ), Project Manager Joe Dezio (GSFC) and members of the KSC launch team. The previous day, two Swift webcasts were produced, featuring live Q&A by Neil Gehrels as well as taped segments from Mission Director John Nousek (Penn State) and Joe Dezio.

Post-launch press coverage of Swift was outstanding - perhaps setting records for launch coverage of an Explorer mission. Over 200 televised media spots on cable and local channels and another more than 200 print and web media articles appeared following launch. Estimated audience is over 27 million viewers and/or readers.

Swift had been resident at KSC since July 29, and endured the onslaught of Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne. Frances, by far the worse, tore part of the roof off the building that housed Swift, which was loaded back into its shipping container to ride out the storm. KSC closed for 11 days for Frances, and so many panels were ripped off KSC's landmark Vertical Assembly building that you could see right through it. Integration of Swift with the rocket could not continue until the hangar in which it was located was repaired, and that had to wait for the passage of Ivan and Jeanne.

A special day-long Swift scientific meeting was held in conjunction with the HEAD Meeting in New Orleans in September. Presentations included reviews of the mission operations, ground system, data archiving plans and capabilities of the Swift instruments. Plans for follow up were presented by many participants describing telescopes and facilities that span the globe. And reviews of current state of our observational and theoretical knowledge of gamma-ray bursts were also presented. Presentations can be found here: http://swift.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/swift/head04/program.html.

Notices of intent for Cycle 2 of Swift Guest Investigator program will most likely be due on May 13, 2005. A formal amendment to ROSS-04, containing definitive due dates, well be released soon. For more information on how to propose, please see: http://swift.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/swift/proposals/.

Swift E/PO News

Swift E/PO has been revving up to support the launch of the observatory. We have taken the lead on producing materials for the guest packets (to be handed out at launch) as well as producing the press kit and other materials for the media.

SSU-provided items in the guest packets include an informational brochure about Swift, a lithograph with an image of Swift and more information, a Swift sticker, the Swift model booklet, a CD that is a current capture of the Swift mission and E/PO web sites, and a copy of the Gamma-Ray Burst activity poster (see below). We also arranged for additional items from launch services and from Spectrum Astro, including a launch poster, an embroidered mission patch, and a keychain.Most of the items in the guest packet were designed by Swift E/PO team artist Aurore Simonnet. Also, Swift polo and T-shirts were made for the team, and are currently being distributed.

Also in preparation for launch, the Swift E/PO web site was redesigned to implement the new "One-NASA" web format and was reorganized to fit together seamlessly with the science site, maintained by GSFC (http://swift.gsfc.nasa.gov). The E/PO site is now a button on the Science site but can still be accessed separately at: http://swift.sonoma.edu.

Tom Lucas Productions has filmed the Swift launch for use in a large-format full digital dome planetarium show, in development with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and primarily funded by NSF. The launch footage will also be used in a PBS NOVA show, to be aired in 2006, which has been funded by a combination of GLAST E/PO and NSF. Both shows feature black holes.

Swift has appeared in many magazine and news articles recently, including a feature article in Popular Science, a two-page spread in Science, and articles in Nature, The Guardian, The Register, The Scotsman, New Scientist, The Houston Chronicle, Space.Com, Florida Today and an outstanding pre-launch article in the New York Times.

We have selected three additional Swift Educator Ambassadors (Tom Arnold, Bruce Hemp and David Beier), bringing the total to five. The EAs help develop, evaluate, test, and disseminate Swift and other E/PO materials through the SEU theme area. The first two EAs trained for 1 week at Sonoma State University in the summer of 2002, and all five of them trained for 10 days in the summer of 2004. Two of the five teachers were formerly members of the Swift Education Committee, and the third, David Beier, was chosen as the Missouri Aerospace Educator of the Year for 2004. Rob Sparks, David Beier and Bruce Hemp all went to KSC to see the launch, but due to the 3-day delay, only Bruce was still around for the actual event.

The combined Swift/GLAST/XMM-Newton booth appeared at: the SLAC Community Day in April in Stanford, CA; the AAS meeting in May in Denver, CO; the American Association Physics Teachers national meeting in July/August in Sacramento, CA; the HEAD meeting in September in New Orleans, LA; SLAC Family Day in September in Stanford, CA; and the California Science Teachers Association meeting in October, in San Jose, CA. In that same time period, the Swift Educator Ambassador group gave 11 workshops to more than 275 teachers across the country, and the other mission EAs also presented Swift materials at several other conferences. The Swift E/PO poster was presented at the New Orleans HEAD meeting as well.

The Gamma-Ray Burst Educators Unit, a set of three Swift-based educational classroom activities and a poster designed for high-school students, was reviewed, finalized, and sent to the printers. This unit has already been presented at several workshops, and has been met enthusiastically by educators. Both the guide and poster can be downloaded from http://swift.sonoma.edu/education/index.html#grb.

The Swift paper model booklet has been completed. 2500 copies have been printed, and are being distributed at the launch, as well as science and education conferences. See http://swift.sonoma.edu/education/index.html#model.

An adaptation of the activity in the Swift GEMS guide called "Tour of the Invisible Universe" is used in the "Modeling the Universe" short course given to teachers at conferences (including the Educator Ambassador training in July, the New Orleans HEAD meeting in September, and the Atlanta NSTA conference in April). The essential question in this activity is "What do we know about our Universe?" There are three science concepts in this activity: the scale and structure of the Universe is vast and complex; objects in space are viewed across the whole electromagnetic spectrum; the Earth is one of many planets, in one of many solar systems, in one of many galaxies in our Universe. This activity teaches students about the different objects in space, the general size and distance of the objects, and how different these objects look in various wavelengths.

We have created a GRB alert website in collaboration with the Swift outreach group in Leicester, UK. The website will wait for GRB alerts from Swift (or HETE or INTEGRAL) then semi-automatically produces a web page with information about the GRB including detection time, location (including a map of the sky showing the location), the constellation in which it is located (of interest to the press and to the public) and updated follow-up information at one day then one week intervals. The current location is: http://gtn.sonoma.edu/grb/, but soon will change to: http://grb.sonoma.edu.

For more information about the Swift E/PO effort, please visit http://swift.sonoma.edu.

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12. Astro-E2 Mission News - Richard Kelley, Koji Mukai and Ilana Harrus, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

The Japan/US Astro-E2 observatory, Japan's fifth X-ray astronomy mission and replacement for the original Astro-E mission lost in early 2000, is nearing completion. The spacecraft has been fully assembled and tested, and recently completed vibration testing. A final, full check out of the observatory, including the instruments and the extendible optical bench, is planned for mid December 2004.

It had been planned to launch Astro-E2 in early 2005, but this has now been delayed to probably the summer of 2005. This has nothing to do with Astro-E2 directly, but rather a decision by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), to prepare for the launch of a weather satellite in February 2005 using an H-2A rocket. Additional testing of the solid rocket motors for the H-2A, made by the same manufacturer as the motors for the M-V that will carry Astro-E2 into orbit, requires that the two launches be separated by a few months. A new launch date will hopefully be announced in the next month or so.

Astro-E2 covers the energy range 0.3 - 600 keV with the three instruments: an X-ray micro-calorimeter (X-ray Spectrometer or XRS), X-ray CCDs (X-ray Imaging Spectrometer or XIS), and the hard X-ray detector (HXD). The satellite was developed by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS; now merged into one space agency, JAXA) in collaboration with U.S. (NASA/GSFC, MIT) and other Japanese institutions.

Owing to cost constraints and the goal of rebuilding the observatory as quickly as possible, Astro-E2 is almost entirely a copy of the original Astro-E spacecraft. However, a limited number of changes were made to improve the overall margin on meeting the science objectives of the mission. These include an improved microcalorimeter array for the XRS, which has a factor of two better energy resolution (6 eV), a Sterling cycle cooler to extend the life of the XRS from 1.9 years to 2.4-3 years (depending on the operational duty cycle), a backside-illumintated CCD for one of the four CCD cameras that will increase the effective area at lower energies, and mechanical precollimators for the five x-ray mirrors to reduce stray x-ray light from off-axis sources.

Cycle 1 of the Astro-E2 Guest Observer Program was released earlier this year. NASA received 160 observing proposals for from US investigators, for a total of nearly 20 M sec of observing time, or an oversubscription factor of roughly 4. In addition, ISAS/JAXA and ESA received 130 and 28 proposals, respectively. All three agencies have completed their respective proposal reviews. However, no results will be published until after the target overlaps have been resolved at the international merging meeting, scheduled for December 7, 2004. The final target list will be published on the NASA GSFC site at: http://astroe2.gsfc.nasa.gov/.

Astro-E2 E/PO News

Coming to a theater near you: We will release, in time for the Oscar Ceremony, a movie on Astro-E2. "Building the coolest X-ray satellite: Astro-E2" is an action-packed movie telling the story of the mission. Aimed at high-school students, the film touches on the science that Astro-E2 will be able to tackle, the building of the mirrors and the XRS. The release will be accompanied by a teacher's guide and distributed to schools across the country.

Competition for students grade 9-12: The Astro-E2 E/PO program is offering a new and innovative program that will open the doors of research to a team of highly motivated, independent high-school students. From January to April 2005, we will accept and review observing proposals from high-school teams for the use of data from the Astro-E2 X-ray satellite. Each entry to the competition will describe a research project and an astronomical observation (anything from galaxies or black holes to supernova remnants or stars) to be carried out by Astro-E2. The winning team work with professional astronomers and present the results of their analysis at the summer meeting of the American Astronomical Society. Students participating in this program will learn about cutting edge research problems in astronomy and astrophysics, work with professional astronomers and understand the challenges of any research project.

For more information on the Astro-E2 outreach program, please visit the Astro-E2 Learning Center web site at http://astroe2LC.gsfc.nasa.gov.

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13. Astrostatistics Workshop Resources - Vinay Kashyap, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

A workshop on AstroStatistics was held during the HEAD meeting at New Orleans. The workshop dealt with data analysis challenges facing astrophysicists and new algorithms and statistical methods that are becoming available. The workshop involved tutorial style talks on Bayesian Blocks, new statistical methods on timing analysis, and challenges facing GLAST data analysis, followed by a panel discussion on new software now becoming available for public use. The presentations, discussions, and audience comments are now online at http://hea-www.harvard.edu/AstroStat/HEAD2004/. This site will be updated with links to software sites and other information as they become available.

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14. News from NASA Headquarters - Lou Kaluzienski, NASA Headquarters.

Personnel Changes in the Universe Division

There will be several personnel changes relevant to NASA's High Energy Astrophysics program in 2005. Two new HEA program scientists have joined the Division on 2-year appointments under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA). Wilt Sanders from the x-ray astronomy group at the University of Wisconsin joined NASA Headquarters in August, and Rick Harnden, a member of the High Energy Astrophysics Division at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, began his NASA tour in November. The arrival of Wilt and Rick meshes well with the upcoming departures of Don Kniffen and Lou Kaluzienski. Don has been serving as HEA discipline scientist for over 5 years. He has provided scientific leadership on the GLAST mission in his role as Program Scientist, as well as on the operating missions Chandra, HETE-2, INTEGRAL and CGRO (prior to its reentry in 2000). In addition, Don has been the focal point for the gamma-ray component of the HEA Research & Analysis Program. Don's IPA appointment expires on January 31, when he will be moving to GSFC to work on SWIFT, INTEGRAL and other HEA programs. Lou, who has served as Discipline Scientist for High Energy Astrophysics at NASA HQ since 1978, will begin a 1-year assignment at Goddard in January. In Lou's absence, Wilt and Rick will be assuming the day-to-day responsibilities of the HEA program, with Wilt focusing on the x-ray astronomy effort and Rick responsible for gamma-ray astronomy.

Former contributor of the NASA HEA updates, Paul Hertz, has left his position as SEU Theme Scientist in the Division and assumed the job of Assistant Associate Administrator for Science in the new Science Mission Directorate (SMD). Paul has played a critical role in advancing the interests of the HEA discipline at NASA and will be missed within the Division. Michael Salamon, who has held the position of Discipline Scientist for Fundamental Physics since his arrival at NASA Headquarters in July 2001, will assume Paul's responsibilities for strategic planning and the Beyond Einstein program.

Explorer Program

In November 2003, five SMEX proposals and one Mission of Opportunity proposal were selected to conduct Phase A concept studies (see news release at: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2003/nov/HQ_03353_feasibility_studies.html). These included the HEA missions DUO (Dark Energy Observatory, PI Rich Griffiths, Carnegie Melon U), NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, PI Fiona Harrison, Caltech), and the long duration balloon mission ANITA (Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna, PI Peter Gorham, U Hawaii). The mission teams submitted their reports to NASA in June, and NASA has completed the review of those reports including site visits. The announcement of the selected missions has not been made at the time of this newsletter.

HEA Supporting Research & Technology (SR&T) Program Status Report

Under the Astronomy & Physics Research & Analysis (APRA) Program element in the 2004 Research Opportunities in Space Science (ROSS-04) announcement, a total of 30 proposals were received for SR&T projects relevant to NASA's x-ray and gamma-ray astronomy disciplines. Selections are expected by calendar-year end.

Upcoming Proposal Opportunities

Over 35 proposing opportunities for space science supporting research, technology, and analysis were contained in the 2004 Research Opportunities in Space Science (ROSS-04). The ROSS-04 and all other proposal opportunities are listed at http://research.hq.nasa.gov/code_s/code_s.cfm.

A new INTEGRAL Archival and Theoretical Research Program was added to the ROSS-04 solicitation, with proposals due 15 February 2005 (see the above research web site for details). Also of interest to the HEAD community is the upcoming Swift Cycle 2 Guest Investigator Program proposal due date of July 8, 2005 (for further details, see: http://swift.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/swift/proposals/).

With the reorganization of NASA Headquarters combining the former Office of Space Science (Code S) and the former Mission to Planet Earth (Code Y), the 2005 NASA Research Announcement soliciting basic research proposals will be known as Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science (ROSES-05) and is planned for release in January 2005. Proposals for participation in the RXTE Cycle 11 Guest Investigator Program will be solicited in that announcement. Due to their launch delays, however, the announcements for the ASTRO-E2 Cycle 2 and Swift Cycle 3 Guest Investigator Programs will be deferred until ROSES-06.

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15. Meeting Announcements

The Future of Cosmology with Clusters of Galaxies (26 February - 2 March 2005, Kona, Hawaii)
An international conference on "The Future of Cosmology with Clusters of Galaxies" will be held 26 February to 2 March 2005 at the Marriott Waikoloa Beach Resort in Kona, Hawaii. The conference will bring theorists, observers at various wavelengths, and computational modelers together to assess our current understanding of clusters as a population and to prepare a roadmap for the extraction of cosmological information from future large surveys. The meeting is jointly sponsored by the Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics, the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at U. Chicago and the Institute for Astronomy at U. Hawaii, with support from NSF and NASA. Registration is open until 28 January. See http://www.umich.edu/~mctp/future for details.

Towards a Network of Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes VII (27 - 29 April 2005, Palaiseau, France)
This conference continues the series "Towards a Major Atmospheric Cherenkov Detector" on ground-based gamma-ray astronomy that began at Ecole Polytechnique in 1992, and subsequently was hosted in Calgary (1993), Tokyo (1994), Padova (1995), Kruger Park (1997), and Snowbird (1999). With the rapidly evolving developments in the field spawned by a new generation of stereoscopic systems and large Cherenkov telescopes (HESS, CANGAROO-III, VERITAS, MAGIC), which provide a much higher sensitivity and/or a much lower energy threshold, the emphasis is turning to telescope arrays. This conference will convene at the Ecole Polytechnique at Palaiseau in the suburbs of Paris, and cover the following topics: (1) status of VHE astrophysics in 2005: new instruments and observations, (2) from shower images to astrophysical imaging, (3) multi-wavelength observations and phenomenology of high-energy gamma-ray sources, (4) new projects in ground-based high-energy astrophysics, (5) instrumentation and calibration for Cherenkov telescopes; inter-calibration with space instruments, (6) data archiving and formatting and link with mainstream astrophysics. Theoretical aspects directly influencing the new experimental challenges should will be addressed, but only to provide the background for the discussion on future strategies which are the main goal of the conference. For details, see the conference Web site: http://polywww.in2p3.fr/cherenkov2005/.

Astrophysical Sources of High Energy Particles and Radiation (20 - 24 June, 2005, Torun, Poland)
This international conference will be held in Torun, Poland (organizers: B. Rudak, Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center, and M. Baring, Rice University). It will be a follow-up of the conference "Particle Acceleration in Astrophysical Objects" held in Krakow in 2003. The objective of the conference is to review and discuss latest observational results in high-energy astronomy and their impact on theories of particle acceleration and energy dissipation in astrophysical sources. A broad class of astrophysical sources of high energy particles and radiation - from stellar to extragalactic objects - will be covered. The following topics will be addressed: (1) high-energy background radiation and cosmic rays, (2) gamma-ray bursts, X-ray flashes, and their afterglows, (3) dynamics and radiative processes of relativistic inflows and outflows in black hole systems and neutron star systems, (4) magnetospheric activity of pulsars and magnetars, (5) magnetic reconnection in classical and relativistic plasma, (6) physics of relativistic shocks and particle acceleration processes, (7) polarization studies in X-rays and gamma-rays. The conference website is http://www.ncac.torun.pl/~torun05/.

Ultra-relativistic Jets in Astrophysics (11 - 15 July 2005, Banff, Canada)
The 2005 Banff conference on "Ultra-relativistic Jets in Astrophysics: Observations, Theory and Simulations" (URJA2005) will be held in the week of July 11-15, 2005 at the Banff Center within the beautiful resorts of the Banff national Park in Alberta, Canada (visit the URJA2005 website at http://www.capca.ucalgary.ca/meetings/banff2005/). URJA2005 seeks to bring together observational, theoretical, and numerical astrophysicists interested in high energy astrophysical phenomena, particularly AGN/quasar jets, pulsar winds/jets, and GRB jets, of moderate and elevated Lorentz factors. Topics explored will include the mechanisms which drive (eject, accelerate, collimate and stabilize) these jet phenomena, their interaction with their environment, and the remarkable similarities in the jet morphologies spanning vast differences in scale and energy. The SOC welcomes scientists working on related high energy phenomena, such as those studying mechanisms of UHECR acceleration, and in particular models and ideas linking relativistic jets to UHECRs. URJA2005 shall foster more interaction between these two communities, to learn about the recent advances being made by each, and discuss strategies for solving the problems which remain in the areas of observation, theory, and simulation. The URJA2005 SOC plans to format the meeting so that equal weight will be placed on these three areas.

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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 December 16, 2004