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.