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A Full Dance Card For Chandra Science
At The 199th Meeting Of The American Astronomical Society

February 19, 2002 ::
Chandra exhibit booth
The Chandra exhibit booth
(Credit: CXC)
Astronomers from all over the world assembled last month in Washington, D.C. for the bi-annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). The setting for this year's meeting was the Hilton Washington and Towers Hotel, located in the Dupont Circle area of D.C. Gathered to exchange and discuss the very latest results and discoveries, scientists met for over four full days, with daily science poster displays, oral presentations, press conferences, and an extensive exhibit hall showcasing all manner of astrophysical science endeavors. Traditionally the largest regular gathering of the world's astronomers, the January AAS meeting is the grand ball of astronomy meetings.

Chandra exhibit booth
The Chandra exhibit booth.
(Credit: CXC)
The Chandra X-ray Observatory Center (CXC) was of course also there, and wearing its finest, with the unveiling of a newly refurbished exhibit booth that prominently features several of the most striking images collected by the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Chandra exhibit booth
The backlit poster in the Chandra exhibit booth.
(Credit: CXC)
One corner of the CXC booth contained a dramatically backlit poster showing many more of Chandra's wonderful images. The other opposite corner of the booth hosted an impressive sixty-inch plasma display screen running an ongoing parade of Chandra science images, as well as images and movies about the NASA Space Shuttle mission that successfully launched Chandra into Earth orbit.

Chandra exhibit booth
The plasma display in the Chandra exhibit booth.
(Credit: CXC)
During the course of the meeting, scientists may stop by the booth to receive Chandra posters, bookmarks, postcards, CD-ROMs and other Chandra novelty and educational materials to take with them. The exhibit also serves as a natural place for astronomers to congregate for their discussions about Chandra-related research and the latest X-ray astronomy topics. In addition, demos of the CXC's data analysis software for Chandra data are available to interested scientists. Astronomers already using this software, and who have specific questions, know that they can receive direct hands-on assistance from the CXC staff at the Chandra booth.

CIAO demos and software assistance at the Chandra exhibit booth
CIAO demos and software assistance at the Chandra exhibit booth.
(Credit: CXC)
The Chandra X-ray Observatory was also enthusiastically showcased elsewhere at the meeting. For example, the CXC counted an impressive forty-six poster paper presentations that reported on recent Chandra-related science, thirty-six of which included the Chandra Observatory name in the paper title. Indeed, an entire poster session was devoted solely to the presentation of "Chandra Observations Of Nearby Galaxies." Poster papers are a presentation of research results, designed for display on a bulletin board, fitting within an area of about 4 x 4 feet. For each day of the meeting a new set of posters is put on display, and poster authors make themselves available at their poster for questions and discussion. Throughout the day between oral presentations, scientists peruse the exhibit hall and posters, culminating in an evening cocktail session during which the exhibit hall teems with meeting attendees conversing about the many poster papers. With so many Chandra posters at this meeting, the CXC is pleased that many of those conversations focused on the science being achieved due to the ongoing success of the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The full set of poster photos is available here. The following provides a quick glimpse into some of the Chandra science presented with posters at the meeting:

Session: Supernova Remnants
Poster Title: Chandra Observations of SNR1987A
Chandra Observations of SNR1987A Chandra observes aging and exploding stars as well as young stars. In this paper the authors discuss the results of monitoring a supernova remnant using Chandra. This supernova remnant is what remains of a star that exploded in 1987. Using Chandra data, the authors have measured the ongoing expansion rate of material from the explosion.
Session: Chandra Observations of Nearby Galaxies
Poster Title: New X-ray Featurs in the Elliptical Galaxy NGC 4472
New X-ray Featurs in the Elliptical Galaxy NGC 4472 Chandra can look out beyond our own galaxy, and this poster presents observations of a nearby galaxy called NGC 4472. These observations show features in this galaxy that may indicate that it has collided with other nearby galaxies. And, other features in the X-ray data provide clues about the history of supernovae explosions within this galaxy.
Session: A Multiwavelength Look
Poster Title: Diffuse Emission in the Nucleus of M31
Diffuse Emission in the Nucleus of M31 The galaxy M31 is one of our galaxy's closest galactic neighbors. This poster reports on Chandra observations that help to more precisely determine the temperature of the hot gas that surrounds the core of M31.
Session: Active Galactic Nuclei - Surveys
Poster Title: Chandra Observations of the Radio Jets in a Sample of Quasars
Chandra Observations of the Radio Jets in a Sample of Quasars Observations with Chandra often result in new discoveries, as did those reported here: four new X-ray jets were discovered. These jets emanate from the cores of active galaxies.
Session: Galaxy Clusters and Mergers
Poster Title: Chandra Observations of the Disruption of the Cool Core in Abell 133
Chandra Observations of the Radio Jets in a Sample of Quasars Like stars that are drawn together by gravity into galaxies, galaxies are also drawn together into groups. Chandra can observe these galaxy clusters, and this paper reports on observations made of the core of a cluster called Abell 133. This core exhibits a filamentary structure of an as-yet unknown nature.


In addition to the poster sessions, scientists also reported on recent Chandra related science in twenty-eight oral presentations. This number is ten more than was given at last year's January AAS meeting. Several of these presentations were delivered as part of two sessions devoted solely to "Recent Results From Chandra Deep Surveys." Oral presentations are brief five-minute talks, followed by a short question-and-answer period, and several presentations are grouped by topic into hour and a half sessions. More extensive hour-long oral presentations are also given, by advance invitation from the Society, and Chandra was prominently featured in a few of these, including one entitled "New Views of Supernova Remnants with the Chandra Observatory."

Chandra press conference.
Chandra press conference.
(Credit: CXC)
Even with so many poster and oral presentations, the Chandra science dance card for the meeting was not quite complete without a press conference or two. Press conferences arise from a poster or oral presentation that is determined to be of possible particular interest for the public. At this AAS meeting, the CXC was very pleased that two results involving Chandra science were selected. During the press conference, the paper authors present their findings to members of the press who are covering the meeting. The press then have an opportunity to ask questions following the half-hour presentation, and may meet one-on-one with the scientists afterward. You can read more about this meeting's Chandra press conference topics here:

Chandra Takes In The Bright Lights, Big City Of the Milky Way
Chandra Finds Ghosts Of Eruption In Galaxy Cluster

However, the real press conference excitement comes in the days following, as various articles appear in newspapers and magazines around the world. The CXC was pleased to count over forty articles stemming from this meeting's Chandra press conferences, appearing in such print media as the New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, to list but a few. Chandra press conferences reach international news audiences as well, with articles also appearing this year in newspapers such as The Nation (Thailand) and The Age (Australia).

The CXC is looking forward to, and making preparations for, upcoming AAS meetings where Chandra science will continue to enjoy full dance cards.

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