Director’s Log

Pat Slane

I used to play volleyball. Eventually, a shoulder injury slowed me down, and I never really took the time to get back into competitive playing shape. My loss.

Chandra's HRC team took a different approach to an anomaly on an aging instrument. Following the failure of a power supply last year, they dug in and developed recovery scenarios. As described in an accompanying Newsletter article by Grant Tremblay, significant efforts by a large number of people here at the CXC have now successfully brought the instrument back into an operational state. Normal HRC science observations with new operating constraints began in April, and the Chandra long-term schedule is now populated with unobserved HRC targets from the past several Cycles.

Proposals for Chandra Cycle 25 were received in March, with requests for a total of over 76 Ms. Panels have been arranged for the associated peer review, which will be carried out remotely in June. A change to the process has been introduced for Target of Opportunity proposals, which will now be evaluated in dedicated TOO panels in order to provide a more direct comparison of requests for these high-resource observations.

Regarding the peer review, two decades of statistics reveal a troubling fact: a large fraction of Chandra proposal PIs have never served on the peer review. The efforts of our colleagues who have served on multiple panels are greatly appreciated, but we can’t continually ask them to carry such a heavy load. Frequent proposers who have not yet taken on the responsibility of participating in the review are strongly encouraged to make time to contribute to this important process.

The next Chandra Workshop, to be held from August 1–3 in Cambridge MA, will be on the topic of “High Resolution X-ray Spectroscopy.” The meeting will highlight the many crucial science results that are being done with LETG and HETG observations with Chandra, along with high-resolution spectral studies with XMM/RGS and results from Hitomi. The topic is of particular interest given the anticipated launch of XRISM, and we hope to see you there!

NASA announced its Agency Awards earlier this year, and contributions by CXC colleagues were recognized. Chandra's Public Outreach Team was recognized with a NASA Group Achievement Award for “Development and Communication of Highly Innovative and Effective Chandra Public Outreach Products,” and Roger Brissenden received the NASA Outstanding Public Leadership Medal “For Outstanding Public Leadership as Manager of the Chandra X-ray Center at SAO from 1993 to 2021.”

After a long and important association with the CXC and HEAD, Ed Mattison stepped down from his role as CXC Program Manager in May. At that point, Mark Weber moved from his previous role as Deputy to become the CXC Project Manager and a search has begun for a new Deputy PM. Ed has been part of the Chandra team since before launch, and he has played a monumental role in managing CXC activities, staffing, reviews, and other functions. We will miss him upon his departure and wish him well!