My personal highlight during this reporting period was receiving, with Harvey Tananbaum (CXC Director), the Rossi Prize of the High-Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) for contributions towards creating and operating this Great Observatory. We realize and acknowledge that the award reflects not only our contributions, but also the technical and scientific contributions of hundreds of individuals over the decades it took to conceive, design, build, test, launch, and operate Chandra. Along with the prize comes the honor of addressing the attendees at the AAS's winter meeting. We did this at the San Diego meeting in January of this year - a daunting experience, in that nearly 2000 people listened to our review of the contributions that Chandra has made in its first five-plus years of operation.
We were especially pleased to acknowledge the tremendous contribution of Riccardo Giacconi. We noted that the true origin of this Observatory traces directly to Riccardo's 1963 proposal, "An Experimental Program of Extra-Solar X-Ray Astronomy", written barely 15 months after the historic rocket flight that discovered Sco X-1 and what was to become known as the diffuse X-ray background. Amongst other things, that historic proposal called for a scanning survey satellite mission (ultimately Uhuru) to be launched in 1966 and a mission featuring a 1.2-meter diameter, 10-meter focal length, grazing-incidence X-ray telescope mission to be launched in 1968.5. The additional 30 years that it took to accomplish this are an unfortunate testament to the challenges one faces in accomplishing major astrophysics missions. The overwhelming technical and scientific success of this mission, designed for three years of operation with a goal of five and currently well into its sixth year is, however, extremely gratifying. We also specifically acknowledged the contributions of our dear departed colleague and Chandra Telescope Project Scientist Leon Van Speybroeck. We discussed the true first light on August 12, 1999, when the last door to space was opened. Fifteen sources were detected, the brightest of which we nicknamed "Leon X-1" and have recently identified with a bright Seyfert galaxy at redshift 0.32.
Our presentation covered a wide variety of Chandra observations: Jupiter and its moons; the earthÕs moon; 30 Doradus; the Crab and Vela pulsar nebulae; the isolated neutron star RX J1856.5-3754; the binary systems Circinus X-1 and Vela X-1; SS433; the globular cluster 47 Tucanae; the center of the Milky Way, including Sag A*; the center of the Andromeda galaxy including M31*; the galaxies NGC 4631, 4697, and the Antennae; the double quasar NGC 6240; jets in M87 and GB 1508+5714; the Chandra surveys, including the deep fields and CHAMP and the evolving view of AGN that we have gleaned from these surveys; recent searches for missing baryons in the WHIM; the remarkable energetics of the cluster MS 0735.6+7421; and the use of Chandra observations of X-ray clusters to study dark matter and dark energy.
A PPT file of our presentation is available at http://chandra.harvard.edu/resources/pptshows.
Finally, Project Science is continuing to support efforts related to potential bake-out of the ACIS filters, in order to remove a molecular contaminant that has accumulated on this cold surface (see also ACIS section). Deciding whether to bake out and, if so, how to minimize risk to the ACIS instrument has turned out to be a complex problem, which explains why a decision has been so long in the making.