Cover Image

Not for Sale



View/Hide Left Panel

Appendix C
Acronyms and Glossary of Selected Terms


AAACAstronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee

Committee advising NASA, NSF, and DOE on interagency cooperation in astronomy and astrophysics. AAAC was established as a result of the primary recommendations made by the NRC Committee on the Organization and Management of Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics (COMRAA) in its 2001 report U.S. Astronomy and Astrophysics: Managing an Integrated Program.

AANMAstronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium, the 2000 astronomy and astrophysics decadal survey

The 2001 report of an NRC decadal survey committee, composed of ten panels focusing on separate areas of astronomy and astrophysics, which charted a course for the field over the new decade by prioritizing numerous space- and ground-based initiatives.

ALMAAtacama Large Millimeter Array, a large radio telescope under construction (NSF) in Chile

An international collaboration between Europe and North America to build a synthesis radio telescope that will operate at millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths. Japan may also become a partner, making this a truly global collaboration. This telescope was recommended in the NRC’s 1991 astronomy and astrophysics decadal survey, The Decade of Discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics.

ATSTAdvanced Technology Solar Telescope

ATST will be the next-generation ground-based solar telescope with an unprecedented 4-m aperture, integrated adaptive optics, low scattered light, infrared coverage, and state-of-the-art post-focus. It will explore the physical processes on the Sun that ultimately affect Earth.


Beyond Einstein

A NASA roadmap emphasizing three interconnected thrusts that advance science and technology toward two visions: direct detection of gravitational wave signals from the earliest possible moments of the Big Bang, and imaging of the event horizon of a black hole. The central element is a pair of Einstein Great Observatories, Con-X and LISA. These powerful facilities will expand understanding about black holes, the Big Bang, and dark energy, and are to be complemented by a series of competitively selected probes and a program of technology development, theoretical studies, and education. Planned to support the probes and the two observatory missions are the Big Bang Observer and the Black Hole Imager.

BPABoard on Physics and Astronomy

An NRC unit whose goals are to impartially monitor the health of physics and astronomy, identify important new developments at the scientific forefront, foster interactions with other fields, strengthen connections to technology, facilitate effective service to the nation, and improve the public’s understanding of science. The BPA works regularly with federal agencies, and occasionally with private interests.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 16
Review of Progress in Astronomy and Astrophysics Toward the Decadal Vision: Letter Report Appendix C Acronyms and Glossary of Selected Terms AAAC—Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee Committee advising NASA, NSF, and DOE on interagency cooperation in astronomy and astrophysics. AAAC was established as a result of the primary recommendations made by the NRC Committee on the Organization and Management of Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics (COMRAA) in its 2001 report U.S. Astronomy and Astrophysics: Managing an Integrated Program. AANM—Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium, the 2000 astronomy and astrophysics decadal survey The 2001 report of an NRC decadal survey committee, composed of ten panels focusing on separate areas of astronomy and astrophysics, which charted a course for the field over the new decade by prioritizing numerous space- and ground-based initiatives. ALMA—Atacama Large Millimeter Array, a large radio telescope under construction (NSF) in Chile An international collaboration between Europe and North America to build a synthesis radio telescope that will operate at millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths. Japan may also become a partner, making this a truly global collaboration. This telescope was recommended in the NRC’s 1991 astronomy and astrophysics decadal survey, The Decade of Discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics. ATST—Advanced Technology Solar Telescope ATST will be the next-generation ground-based solar telescope with an unprecedented 4-m aperture, integrated adaptive optics, low scattered light, infrared coverage, and state-of-the-art post-focus. It will explore the physical processes on the Sun that ultimately affect Earth. Beyond Einstein A NASA roadmap emphasizing three interconnected thrusts that advance science and technology toward two visions: direct detection of gravitational wave signals from the earliest possible moments of the Big Bang, and imaging of the event horizon of a black hole. The central element is a pair of Einstein Great Observatories, Con-X and LISA. These powerful facilities will expand understanding about black holes, the Big Bang, and dark energy, and are to be complemented by a series of competitively selected probes and a program of technology development, theoretical studies, and education. Planned to support the probes and the two observatory missions are the Big Bang Observer and the Black Hole Imager. BPA—Board on Physics and Astronomy An NRC unit whose goals are to impartially monitor the health of physics and astronomy, identify important new developments at the scientific forefront, foster interactions with other fields, strengthen connections to technology, facilitate effective service to the nation, and improve the public’s understanding of science. The BPA works regularly with federal agencies, and occasionally with private interests.

OCR for page 16
Review of Progress in Astronomy and Astrophysics Toward the Decadal Vision: Letter Report CAA—Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics An NRC committee, overseen by the BPA and the SSB, that monitors the status of space- and ground-based astronomy and astrophysics and provides assessments to the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and other institutions. The overall objective is to encourage progress in astronomy and astrophysics and to assist the federal government in planning programs in these fields. CGRO—Compton Gamma Ray Observatory Launched in 1991 and de-orbited in mid-2000, CGRO was the second of NASA’s Great Observatories. It had four instruments that covered a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum, from 30 keV to 30 GeV, and realized greater than a 10-fold improvement in sensitivity over that of previous missions. The observatory revealed a new class of gamma-ray objects as predominant in the Milky Way. Chandra XRO—Chandra X-ray Observatory Launched in July 1999 and flying more than one-third of the way to the Moon, this NASA observatory is the most sophisticated X-ray observatory built to date. Chandra is designed to observe X rays from high-energy regions of the universe, such as the remnants of exploded stars. Chandra is the third telescope in NASA’s Great Observatories program. COBE—Cosmic Background Explorer The COBE satellite was developed by NASA‘s Goddard Space Flight Center to measure the diffuse infrared and microwave radiation from the early universe to the limits set by the astrophysical environment. Launched in November 1989, it provided the first detailed map of fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background, thus yielding unprecedented information about the origin and structure of the universe and the nature of the Big Bang. COMRAA—Committee on the Organization and Management of Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics An NRC committee that evaluated the effectiveness of programs run by federal organizations supporting work in astronomy and astrophysics and reported its results in its 2001 report U.S. Astronomy and Astrophysics: Managing an Integrated Program. A COMRAA recommendation resulted in the creation of the AAAC. Connecting Quarks with the Cosmos: Eleven Science Questions for the New Century, NRC report An NRC report that identifies eleven of the most pressing and interesting questions for which the astronomy and particle physics communities seek answers. The report discusses the steps to be taken to ensure that these questions are investigated and ultimately answered. Con-X—Constellation X-Ray Observatory An observatory under study, Con-X is planned to consist of an array of four X-ray telescopes housed in separate spacecraft and having high spectral resolution over a broad energy range, ~ 0.25 to 40 keV. It will probe the formation and evolution of stellar and galactic supermassive black holes. Con-X will also measure the physical conditions in the first clusters of galaxies, study quasars at high redshift, contribute to advances in nuclear physics by measuring the radii of neutron stars, and trace the formation of the chemical elements.

OCR for page 16
Review of Progress in Astronomy and Astrophysics Toward the Decadal Vision: Letter Report COS—Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, an instrument designed for installation on Hubble COS is a new instrument for the Hubble Space Telescope that was to be installed in 2006 during the now cancelled SM-4 servicing mission. With a full order of magnitude improvement in resolution over that of previous HST instruments, it is designed for efficient spectroscopic observation of numerous faint extragalactic and galactic ultraviolet targets. COS would contribute to such primary science objectives as the study of the origins of large-scale structure in the universe, the formation and evolution of galaxies, and the origin of stellar and planetary systems and the cold interstellar medium. DOE—Department of Energy The DOE’s overarching mission is to advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United States; to promote scientific and technological innovation in support of that mission; and to ensure the environmental cleanup of the national nuclear weapons complex. EVLA—Expanded Very Large Array The revitalization of the VLA, the world’s foremost centimeter-wave radio telescope, will take advantage of modern technology to attain unprecedented image quality with 10 times the sensitivity and 1000 times the spectroscopic capability of the existing VLA. This capability will be achieved by the addition of eight new antennas and will provide an order-of-magnitude increase in angular resolution. The EVLA will enable study of the formation of protoplanetary disks and the earliest stages of galaxy formation. EXIST—Energetic X-ray Imaging Survey Telescope Planned to be attached to the International Space Station, EXIST will survey the entire sky every 90 minutes for X-ray sources 1000 times weaker than those previously observed, searching for weak and often time-variable astronomical sources of 5- to 600-keV X-ray photons. Such X-rays emanate from many sources, including supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies, stellar mass black holes, neutron stars, and embedded supernovae in our galaxy, as well as the mysterious distant sources of gamma-ray bursts of radiation. FACA—Federal Advisory Committee Act The federal act that authorizes the establishment of a system governing the creation and operation of advisory committees in the executive branch of the federal government and for other purposes. FASR—Frequency Agile Solar Radiotelescope If built, FASR would represent a 10-fold improvement in resolution over existing facilities, with capabilities planned specifically for observing the Sun. It is designed to produce high-quality images of solar processes over a core frequency range of 0.3 to 30 GHz, with sufficient resolution to fully exploit radio emission as a diagnostic of the wide variety of complex physical processes that occur on the surface of and within the Sun. GALEX—Galaxy Evolution Explorer GALEX is an operational orbiting space telescope that will observe galaxies in ultraviolet light across 10 billion years of cosmic history. By producing the first-ever extragalactic sky survey, GALEX will help scientists understand how galaxies, the basic structures of our universe, evolve and change. Additionally, it will probe the causes of star formation during a period in which most of the stars and elements we see today originated.

OCR for page 16
Review of Progress in Astronomy and Astrophysics Toward the Decadal Vision: Letter Report Gemini Currently operating, the Gemini observatory consists of state-of-the-art twin 8-meter optical/infrared telescopes located on two of the best sites on Earth. From high atop remote mountains in Chile and Hawaii, the twin telescopes give astronomers access for the first time to the entire sky. The Gemini telescopes are the largest, most advanced optical/infrared telescopes available to astronomers in the United States regardless of institutional affiliation. GLAST—Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope Currently under development at NASA, GLAST is a powerful gamma-ray telescope with great potential for enabling breakthrough discoveries. With an energy range between 10 MeV and 300 GeV and sensitivity 30 times greater than that of its predecessor, CGRO, GLAST will study powerful jets from the supermassive black holes in the centers of distant galaxies, the acceleration mechanisms of cosmic rays, and the origin of tremendous bursts of gamma-ray radiation from the distant universe. GSMT—Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope The GSMT is a 30-meter ground-based telescope that will be a powerful complement to NGST in tracing the evolution of galaxies and the formation of stars and planets. It will have unique capabilities in studying the evolution of the intergalactic medium and the history of star formation in our galaxy and its nearest neighbors. GSMT will use adaptive optics to achieve unprecedented imaging in the atmospheric windows between 1 and 25 μm and 0.3 and 1 μm HETE-2—High Energy Transient Explorer HETE-2 is a small scientific satellite launched in late 2000 and designed to detect and localize gamma-ray bursts. The coordinates of gamma-ray bursts detected by HETE are distributed to ground-based observers within seconds of burst detection, thereby allowing detailed observations of the initial phases of gamma-ray bursts, and thus insights into their origin and nature. HST—Hubble Space Telescope Launched in 1990 and still operating in low Earth orbit, HST is the first space-based astronomical observatory. It has provided incredible insights and innumerable discoveries into everything from the dawn of the universe to the evolution of galaxies to the existence of planets in other solar systems in our own galaxy. HST’s set of instruments gives it observational capabilities from the infrared to the ultraviolet. INTEGRAL—International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory INTEGRAL is a European Space Agency space-based observatory launched in 2002 to study our galaxy’s structure, its center, and the compact objects (black holes, neutron stars, white dwarfs, gamma-ray bursts) within it, as well as to explore extragalactic phenomena. INTEGRAL has discovered a new class of unidentified objects presumed to be binary systems consisting of a neutron star and a black hole rotating about one another. JWST—James Webb Space Telescope; see NGST JWST is a large, infrared-optimized space telescope currently under study at NASA and scheduled for launch in August 2011. JWST is designed to study the earliest galaxies and some of the first stars formed after the Big Bang. These early objects have a high redshift and thus can best be observed in the infrared, the range of the electromagnetic spectrum in which JWST‘s instruments will be designed primarily to work.

OCR for page 16
Review of Progress in Astronomy and Astrophysics Toward the Decadal Vision: Letter Report LBTI—Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer Currently under construction in Arizona, LBTI will consist of two 8.4-meter mirrors mounted 14.4 meters apart. The telescopes can be used separately or as a single telescope capable of discerning detail roughly 10 times smaller than that captured in images from HST. This capability greatly facilitates the discovery and analysis of extrasolar planets and serves as a testbed for NASA’s TPF mission. LISA—Laser Interferometer Space Antenna LISA will consist of three spacecraft spaced 5 million kilometers apart in an equilateral triangle, with lasers accurately monitoring their separation to detect the gravitational radiation predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The direct measurement of gravitational radiation from the coalescence of supermassive black holes as distant galaxies merge and from the rotation of local white dwarf binaries will open enable investigations into the physics of strong gravitational fields. LOFAR—Low Frequency Array LOFAR is a proposed large radio telescope array that will operate in the 10- to 240-MHz frequency range. It will have approximately 13,000 dipole antennas clustered in roughly 100 stations spread over a region 400 kilometers across. This arrangement will provide a collecting area of 1 square kilometer at 15 MHz, and unprecedented arc-second angular resolution. LST—Large Survey Telescope By surveying the visible sky every week to a much fainter level than is currently possible, LST will contribute to the study of the structure of the universe by observing thousands of supernovae and by measuring, using gravitational lensing, the distribution of dark matter. It will also be able detect 90 percent of the near-Earth objects larger than 300 m in diameter, enabling the assessment of the potential hazard each poses to Earth. NASA—National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA was established as an independent agency of the U.S. Government in 1958 by the National Aeronautics and Space Act. Its mission is to expand knowledge of Earth and space phenomena, to preserve the nation’s preeminent position in aerospace technology, and to devote itself to peaceful and scientific purposes for the benefit of all mankind. NASA supports the large majority of U.S. space-based astronomy. NGST—Next Generation Space Telescope See JWST. NGST was renamed the James Webb Space Telescope and is under study at NASA. NRC—National Research Council The NRC is part of the National Academies, which also comprise the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine—private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter. The NRC was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy‘s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government.

OCR for page 16
Review of Progress in Astronomy and Astrophysics Toward the Decadal Vision: Letter Report NSF—National Science Foundation The NSF, an independent U.S. government agency established by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, promotes the progress of science; advances the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and secures the national defense. The NSF provides the majority of federal funding for ground-based astronomy. NVO—National Virtual Observatory NVO’s objective is to enable new science by greatly enhancing access to data and computing resources. The NVO is developing tools that make it easy to locate, retrieve, and analyze astronomical data from archives and catalogs worldwide, and to compare theoretical models and simulations with observations. Data from future observatories such as LST will be available directly to the NVO community. OSTP—Office of Science and Technology Policy, office of the Presidential Science Advisor Established in 1976 with a broad mandate to advise the President and others within the Executive Office of the President on the effects of science and technology on domestic and international affairs, OSTP is tasked to lead an interagency effort to develop and implement sound science and technology policies and budgets and to work with the private sector, state and local governments, the science and higher education communities, and other nations toward this end. Physics of the Universe, OSTP report Released in February 2004 and written by OSTP’s Interagency Working Group on the Physics of the Universe, The Physics of the Universe was produced in response to the NRC’s 2003 report Connecting Quarks with the Cosmos: Eleven Science Questions for the New Century. Based on the assessment in the NRC report, the OSTP report prioritizes the new facilities needed to advance knowledge in each of the areas. RHESSI—Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager Launched in early 2002, RHESSI is a small Earth-orbiting satellite that explores the basic physics of particle acceleration and energy release in solar flares by observing the Sun. Researchers believe that particles are accelerated to high velocities in these solar flares, and RHESSI’s new approach of combining high-resolution imaging in hard X-rays and gamma rays with high-resolution spectroscopy will enable researchers to find out where these particles are accelerated and to what energies. SAFIR—Single Aperture Far-Infrared Observatory SAFIR is designed to study the birth and evolution of stars and planetary systems by reaching back to extremely early ages in the history of the universe, accurately tracing star formation and metal enrichment since that time. From orbit, this 10-meter telescope, with sensitivity 100 times greater than that of its predecessors, will probe one of the least explored wavelength ranges, but one that holds great potential for discovery due to its ability to penetrate thick dust shrouds. SDO—Solar Dynamics Observer Currently under study at NASA, SDO is a space-based mission that will carry a number of instruments and small telescopes to monitor the Sun continuously at ultraviolet and optical wavelengths (0.02 to 1 μm). SDO will probe the outer layers of the Sun to determine the connections between the interior dynamics and the activity of the solar corona, the origin of sunspots and solar active regions, and the origin of coronal mass ejections and solar flares.

OCR for page 16
Review of Progress in Astronomy and Astrophysics Toward the Decadal Vision: Letter Report SIM—Space Interferometry Mission Recommended in the 1991 decadal survey and scheduled for launch in 2010, SIM will determine the positions and distances of stars to an accuracy several hundred times greater than that obtained with any previous program. This capability will allow SIM to determine the distances to stars throughout the galaxy and to probe nearby stars for Earth-sized planets. SIM is a key mission in the search for Earth-like planets and life. SIRTF—Space Infrared Telescope Facility See Spitzer. Now operational and renamed the Spitzer Space Telescope. SKA—Square Kilometer Array SKA is planned to be an international ground-based centimeter-wave radio telescope array with 106 square meters of collecting area that will enable study of the first structures and the first luminous objects to form during the dawn of the modern universe. SKA will provide unprecedented images of protostellar disks and the neutral jets launched by young stars. Its sensitivity will be 100 times greater than that of existing centimeter-wave facilities. Spitzer—Spitzer Space Telescope The Spitzer Space Telescope (formerly SIRTF), the last of NASA’s Great Observatories, was launched in August 2003. The largest infrared telescope ever sent into space, Spitzer detects the infrared energy, or heat, radiated by objects in space between wavelengths of 3 and 180 microns. By observing infrared radiation otherwise blocked by Earth’s atmosphere, Spitzer will provide vital information to help characterize how galaxies, stars, and planets develop and form. SSB—Space Studies Board An NRC unit, the SSB provides an independent, authoritative forum for information and advice on all aspects of space science and applications. The SSB conducts advisory studies and program assessments, facilitates international research coordination, and promotes communications on space science and science policy between the research community, the federal government, and the interested public. Swift—Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission Launched in late 2004, Swift is a NASA mission with international participation that will enable scientists to explore the gamma-ray burst mystery: the origin of rapid, nearly daily explosions second in force only to the Big Bang. Within seconds of detecting a burst, Swift will relay the burst’s location to ground stations, giving both ground-based and space-based telescopes around the world the opportunity to observe the burst’s afterglow. TPF—Terrestrial Planet Finder TPF is currently envisaged as a pair of observatories, TPF-C and TPF-I. TPF-C is an optical coronagraph designed to be able to identify planets that are Earth-sized or slightly smaller within the habitable zones of nearby Sun-like stars. TPF-I is a free-flying infrared interferometer designed to study terrestrial planets around nearby stars—to find them, characterize their atmospheres, and search for evidence of life—and to obtain images of star-forming regions and distant galaxies with unprecedented resolution.

OCR for page 16
Review of Progress in Astronomy and Astrophysics Toward the Decadal Vision: Letter Report TSIP—Telescope System Instrumentation Program (NSF) The highest-priority moderate initiative recommended in the AANM report, TSIP contributes greatly to the emerging paradigm of the integrated observing system, an approach to operating public and private facilities used for ground-based optical and infrared astronomy in which complementarity and cooperation provide motivation for strategic decisions. Through TSIP, NSF funds the development of instruments or other improvements for private observatories, in exchange for which telescope time at those facilities is made available to the research community. WF3—Wide Field Camera (3), instrument designed for installation on HST WFC3 was originally conceived only as a project to replace the capabilities of an instrument on HST, but it became clear during development that with advancing technologies and careful planning, WFC3 could substantially enhance HST’s abilities by adding a second channel, in the near-infrared range (in addition to the one in the near-ultraviolet). Adding a second channel of this type is almost like adding another instrument to Hubble. The UV and the IR regions are rich in information on the properties of solar system objects, stars, star-forming regions, galaxies, and the most distant and oldest objects in the universe. WMAP—Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe WMAP, launched in mid-2001, is currently operating in high Earth orbit. A NASA Explorer mission, WMAP has measured with unprecedented accuracy the temperature of the cosmic background radiation, which permeates the entire universe, across the entire sky. This map of the remnant heat from the Big Bang will provide answers to fundamental questions about the origin and fate of our universe. XMM-Newton—ESA’s X-ray space observatory Launched by the European Space Agency in late 1999, XMM-Newton is the largest scientific satellite ever built in Europe. XMM-Newton explores X-rays from accretion onto black holes, properties of exploding stars, the nature of exotic matter, and gamma-ray bursts.