Astrophysics Science Division (660) Local News Archive

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Recent Awards from the American Astronautical Society

03/27/2018
Congratulations to Goddard scientists Ira Thorpe and Jake Slutsky, both in 663, who are part of the LISA Pathfinder (LPF) team, which was recently awarded the 2017 Space Technology Award from the American Astronautical Society. Other Goddard employees who are on the LPF team are Jim O’Donnell, Peiman Maghami, and Oscar Hu in Code 591. Jesse Leitner in Code 300 received the Industrial Leadership Award. Harley Thronson received the AAS President’s Recognition Award for a decade of chairing the Goddard Symposium planning team.
photo of Ira Thorpe and AAS staff photo of Harley and AAS staff
Left: Ira Thorpe with Jim Way and Carol Lane of AAS. Right: Harley Thronson with Jim Way of AAS. Click to enlarge.

Professor Saku Tsuneta, Director General of ISAS, visits

02/26/2018
photo of Tsuneta, Hartman, and Kelley
Colleen Hartman and Richard Kelley (662) present Professor Saku Tsuneta, Director General, Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan, with a plaque commemorating the strong scientific collaboration in astrophysics between NASA and JAXA.

Poster Blowout 2018

02/05/2018
Note from the Director:
I would like to thank the Director’s Science Committee for putting on an amazingly successful event where scientists and engineers across Goddard shared their work and made new contacts. The interdisciplinary interactions were especially exciting and crossed all four science disciplines.
Best,
Colleen


Click the title of this news item or the image below for more images from the poster party. scientists standing in front of a poster

Congratulations to Charles Bennett, Gary Hinshaw, Norman Jarosik, Lyman Page Jr., David Spergel and the WMAP Science Team for winning the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

12/03/2017
Congratulations to Charles Bennett, Gary Hinshaw, Norman Jarosik, Lyman Page Jr., David Spergel and the WMAP Science Team for winning the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics on Dec. 3! The citation reads: “For detailed maps of the early universe that greatly improved our knowledge of the evolution of the cosmos and the fluctuations that seeded the formation of galaxies.” The Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics was founded in 2012 by Yuri Milner to recognize those individuals who have made profound contributions to human knowledge. The team also includes:

Chris Barnes, Olivier Doré, Joanna Dunkley, Ben Gold, Michael Greason, Mark Halpern, Robert Hill, Al Kogut, Eiichiro Komatsu, David Larson, Michele Limon, Stephan Meyer, Michael Nolta, Nils Odegard, Hiranya Peiris, Kendrick Smith, Greg Tucker, Licia Verde, Janet Weiland, Ed Wollack, and Ned Wright

Congratulations to the many ASD members who were involved in the exciting gravitational wave and electromagnetic counterpart discovery of merging neutron stars, and the subsequent media activity around the discovery!

10/23/2017
Scientists:

Scott Barthelmy - Gamma-ray Coordinates Network system
Eric Burns - Fermi gamma ray burst study
Jordan Camp – GSFC LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) PI
Brad Cenko - Swift PI
Tito Dal Canton - Gravitational wave localization maps; Virgo, joint LIGO/Virgo-Fermi-GBM study
Amy Lien - Swift follow up study
Julie McEnery - Fermi Project Scientist
Frank Marshall - Swift follow up study
Judy Racusin - Fermi gamma ray burst study, Swift follow-up study
Leo Singer - Gravitational wave localization maps, GROWTH follow-up study, joint LIGO/Virgo-Fermi-GBM study
Eleonora Troja - Chandra & HST follow-up, Swift follow-up study

Communications Team:

Elizabeth Ferrara - Fermi social media
Barb Mattson - Traditional & social media coordination
Sara Mitchell - Social media coordination & content creation
Brian Monroe - Animator
Frank Reddy - Cross-organizational coordination & writer for nasa.gov press release
Claire Saravia - Live shots
Amber Straughn - ASD Associate Director
Dewayne Washington - HQ/GSFC coordination
Scott Wiessinger - Video & multimedia
Amber Straughn

Congratulations to the Astrophysics Science Division scientists who are PIs and Co-Is on the recently announced Astrophysics Missions of Opportunity and Medium-Class Explorer missions!

08/09/2017
  • ISS-TAO (Transient Astrophysics Observer on the ISS), a Mission of Opportunity proposal submitted to the 2016 Explorer opportunity, was selected for a Phase A study. ISS-TAO team members include PI Jordan Camp (663), Scott Barthelmy (661), Rob Petre (662), Judy Racusin (661), Brad Cenko (661), Frank Marshall (661), Jeremy Schnittman (663), Andy Ptak (662), and Amy Lien (661), Leo Singer (661), and Tod Strohmeyer (662). ISS-TAO is a wide-field X-ray transient detector aboard the International Space Station that would observe numerous events per year of X-ray transients related to compact objects. The mission’s primary goal is the detection of X-ray counterparts to gravitational waves produced by neutron stars merging with black holes and other neutron stars. Other targets would be supernova shocks, neutron star bursts, and high redshift gamma-ray bursts.
  • Rob Petre (662), Andy Ptak (662), Alan Smale (660), and Lynne Valencic (662) are co-Is on Arcus (PI Randall Smith, SAO), selected as a concept study for a Medium-Class Explorer mission. Arcus would study stars, galaxies and clusters of galaxies using high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy to characterize the interactions between these objects and the diffuse million-degrees gas that surrounds and permeates them.
  • Alan Smale (660) and Terri Brandt (661) are collaborators on COSI-X (PI Steve Boggs/UCB), selected as a concept study for an Explorer Mission of Opportunity. COSI-X is a balloon-borne, wide-field-of-view telescope designed to survey the gamma-ray sky at 0.2-5 MeV, performing high-resolution spectroscopy, wide-field imaging, and polarization measurements. COSI-X would map gamma-rays from antimatter around the Milky Way's center, as well as from newly-formed radioactive elements in the debris of stellar explosions.
The NASA press release announcing the selections is here: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-selects-proposals-to-study-galaxies-stars-planets

Goddard Center Director Remarks on Passing of Neil Gehrels

02/11/2017
"Our center has lost a dear friend and astronomy pioneer, and his spirit will always live on in our work, said Goddard Center Director Chris Scolese. "Those of us who were fortunate to work with Neil know of his unwavering enthusiasm for science and unselfish generosity in mentoring others."

Neil Gehrels Awarded $1M 2017 Dan David Prize

02/10/2017
Neil Gehrels was posthumously awarded the $1 million 2017 Dan David Prize for "being the principal investigator of NASA's Swift Gamma Ray Burst Mission, which has transformed our view of the transient and variable sky in gamma-rays and in X-rays." Neil is one of three laureates announced this year in the field of astronomy. The Dan David Prize is headquartered at Tel Aviv University.

2017 Rossi Prize: Gabriela González and LIGO Scientific Collaboration

01/25/2017
The 2017 Rossi Prize has been awarded to Gabriela González at Louisiana State University and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration for "the first direct detections of gravitational waves, for the discovery of merging black hole binaries, and beginning the new era of gravitational-wave astronomy." The collaboration includes more than 1,000 scientists from more than 90 institutions around the world. ASD members are:

Scott Barthlemy
Jordan Camp
John Cannizzo
Tito Dal Canton
Neil Gehrels
Leo Singer

Two new American Physical Society fellows

12/06/2016
Two Goddard civil servants were made American Physical Society fellows this year. Congratulations to Ann Hornschemeier and Rich Kelley.
Ann Hornschemeier: For outstanding contributions to the understanding of physics and the evolution of X-ray binaries in other galaxies.
Richard L. Kelley: For exceptional contributions to the development of high-resolution cryogenic X-ray spectrometers, and outstanding leadership of Astro-H Soft X-ray Spectrometer team research.

Congratulations to the HIRMES Team

09/07/2016
Congratulations to the High Resolution Mid-InfrarEd Spectrometer (HIRMES) team on the selection of their instrument for SOFIA.

Rich Kelley wins John C. Lindsay Memorial Award for Space Science

08/09/2016
Rich led the development of the Hitomi Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS), a technological marvel consisting of an X-ray calorimeter at the focus of a foil mirror. The SXS produced the first direct measurements of gas turbulence and bulk motions in the Perseus Cluster. The entire SXS team had contributions that far exceeded the sum of their individual efforts, producing transformational scientific results from exceptional technical achievements. The fall colloquium series will include the Lindsay Award Winner lecture, where you may hear more from Rich about this fascinating work. Congratulations to the SXS Team and hearty congratulations to Rich!

Intern poster session Science award winners

08/08/2016
Congratulations to the 2016 Science award winners from the intern poster session: Lucas Tax (660), Austin Kim (662), Evan Frangipane (674), Anna Voelker (674), Michael Greklek-McKeon (674), and Robert Spencer (613). Colleen Hartman, Director of the Sciences & Exploration Directorate, presented the awards on Thursday August 4.

Science Jamboree event photos

08/04/2016
The 2016 Science Jamboree was a great success! A collection of 50 photos from the event are available now.

NASA Selects Instrument Team to Build Next-Gen Planet Hunter

03/29/2016
Congratulations to GSFC team members Mike McElwain, Qian Gong, and Ravi Kopparapu. NASA has selected a team to build a new, cutting-edge instrument that will detect planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets, by measuring the miniscule “wobbling” of stars. The instrument will be the centerpiece of a new partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF) called the NASA-NSF Exoplanet Observational Research program, or NN-EXPLORE.

Neil Gehrels Elected to an Honorary Fellowship in the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS)

01/08/2016
Neil Gehrels has been elected to an Honorary Fellowship in the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). Neil has enjoyed a long association with Astronomers in the United Kingdom who are partners in the Swift mission. In his role as the PI of Swift, Neil created these very successful partnerships.

Mark Clampin Named Director of the Astrophysics Science Division

11/06/2015
Please welcome Mark Clampin into the key leadership position of Director of the Astrophysics Science Division. Mark came to Goddard in 2003 from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). Mark has been serving as the James Webb Space Telescope Observatory (JWST) Project Scientist at Goddard since 2003, providing science oversight of the Observatory's design through the initial phases of integration. From 2012 to 2014 he also served as the Chief Technologist of the Cosmic Origins and Physics of the Cosmos Program Offices. During the last year, he participated in the development of the Advanced Large Aperture Space Telescope (ATLAST) concept as a Senior Scientist. Mark assumes this position with a broad range of experience covering the scientific, technical and programmatic breadth of the division’s responsibilities. We are delighted he is accepting this new challenge and we look forward to working with him as he leads the outstanding team here in the Astrophysics Science Division.

Sylvain Guiriec wins the 2015 IUPAP Young Scientist Prize in Astrophysics

09/22/2015
The 2015 IUPAP Young Scientist Prize in Astrophysics was awarded to Sylvain Guiriec for his “insightful and innovative contributions towards understanding the nature of Gamma Ray Burst (GRB) prompt emission, in particular the establishment of multi-component spectra, and the discovery of a new Peak Energy – Luminosity relation showing that GRBs can be used as standard candles and thereby as unique cosmological probes.”

Steven Snowden wins John C. Lindsay Award

09/09/2015
Congratulations to Steven Snowden who has been selected this year's John C. Lindsay Award winner. The citation will read “For developing the first physically coherent picture of the Local Hot Bubble." This is an incredibly important discovery, solving the origin of the cosmic soft x-ray background after many years of observations and modeling. Steve’s search for answers has relied on multi-wavelength studies spanning the spectrum from the radio to the X-ray as well as on interdisciplinary studies combining astrophysics, heliophysics, and planetary science. He even included results from the Voyager spacecraft as it left the solar system. A recent breakthrough, based on additional information from a sounding rocket experiment, allowed the final pieces of this puzzle to be convincingly put together. The award ceremony and lecture are schedule for Wednesday October 7th as part of the Scientific Colloquium.

Klumpke-Roberts Award Winners

07/20/2015
The Klumpke-Roberts Award of the ASP is awarded annually to an individual or individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy. Jerry Bonnell (661) and Bob Nemiroff (Michigan Tech) were selected for their work on Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Liz Hays Elected as a New Fellow of the American Physical Society

12/05/2014
Please congratulate Liz Hays for being elected as a new Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS). This is quite an honor -- only 0.5% of APS members are elected to be Fellows each year.

NICER Passes CDR!

09/18/2014
The NICER team has passed their Critical Design Review. Great job!

TESS passes PDR!

09/18/2014
The TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) recently passed their PDR, and confirmation (KDP-C) of the mission is scheduled for Oct 31.

Goddard View

08/21/2014
Read about making room for Webb's mirrors and decoding the rhythm of an unusual black hole with RXTE in Volume 10, issue 11 of the Goddard View.

Goddard View

08/05/2014
Read about revolutionary microshutter technology originally created for JWST, measuring gravitational waves with ELISA, and learning to fly with Dr. Amber Straughn, in Volume 10, Issue 10 of the Goddard View.
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