Stephen R. Walton, editor
March 16, 2000
I have just been informed by Ernie Hildner, chair of this year's Hale Prize Committee, that the 2000 Hale Prize is being awarded to Loren Acton of Montana State University, Bozeman. Congratulations, Loren!
>From George Withbroe <email@example.com>
>2 Mar 2000
The emerging mission set for the Sun-Earth Connections (SEC) program within the NASA Office of Space Science (OSS) provides diverse opportunities for conducting science missions capable of carrying out exciting scientific research which, in many cases, also addresses aspects of the connected Sun-Earth system that affect life and society. Over the past 15 months, NASA has been exploring the possibility of taking advantage of the synergism enabled by complementary strengths of the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in several areas. Consistent with this exploration, GSFC recently announced a proposed GSFC-APL partnership in the SEC area in Commerce Business Daily via CBD Notice RFP5-00000-013 ( http://nais.msfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/EPS/synopsis.cgi?acqid=24541 ). The notice has precipitated questions from the Sun Earth Connections (SEC) community. We hope that the following information clarifies the proposed arrangements.
The Office of Space Science at NASA Headquarters is responsible for management of the SEC program. GSFC has proposed a contract with APL to assist in program implementation. While the nature of this contract is yet to be definitized, it should be noted that:
1) Selection of investigations is the responsibility of OSS via the normal NRA and AO processes. Traditional procedures will be employed to maintain fair and open competition.
2) NASA Headquarters retains responsibility for decisions on program/mission architecture, including mission assignments.
3) Consistent with NASA policy, all spacecraft make/buy decisions will be decided by NASA Headquarters.
Science Program Director for the Sun Earth Connection
On February 16, a notice posted in the Commerce Business Daily (see http://nais.msfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/EPS/synopsis.cgi?acqid=24541 ) announced the pending award of a sole-source contract to the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University for various services to NASA's Sun-Earth Connection (SEC) Theme, including definition, development, and implementation of missions in the Living with a Star initiative. In the brief time available for submitting official responses, the SPD Committee sent the following letter to NASA officials expressing strong concerns about the implications of this contract for the solar-physics community and SEC.
We welcome your opinions on this potentially significant development. Substantive commentary intended for public distribution should be sent to SolarNews; other comments can be made to the SPD chair ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) or SPD committee members (see co-signers of the letter below).
[The text of the letter begins here.]
William F. Townsend
GSFC Deputy Center Director
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771
On behalf of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society, I would like to express our concerns regarding RFP5-00000-013, the recent notice to award a sole-source contract to Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) to perform multiple services for missions under the Sun Earth Connection (SEC) Theme in NASA's Office of Space Science, including the recently announced Living with a Star (LWS) initiative. The consequences of this surprising announcement of a radical change in the way successful NASA SEC missions have been developed and implemented require careful consideration by the SEC community. Under the present time constraints, however, our primary concerns are as follows:
1) Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) has an excellent track record in planning and managing SEC missions, as evidenced most recently by the highly successful ACE, SOHO, and TRACE missions. This planning and management capability results from the solid, long-term base of scientific and technological expertise relevant to SEC that has been built up at GSFC. As a result, our community has confidence in GSFC's ability to plan and manage the LWS and other SEC missions. This contract, however, could reduce or eliminate NASA's ability to use a valuable, well-tested asset - GSFC's scientific planning and management capabilities -- to ensure the success of these missions in a cost-effective manner. We question the wisdom of abandoning this proven system.
2) The unprecedented degree of secrecy surrounding a major decision of this magnitude sets a disturbing precedent, particularly in light of the sole-source nature of this contract. Avoiding community input and evaluation is contrary to NASA's standard use of established venues for SEC community involvement, including the Roadmap exercises and the advisory council meetings (e.g., the SECAS and the NAS CSSP). Equally puzzling is the fact that the scientists, engineers, and managers at GSFC who have spent the last several months ably planning the LWS program were not informed of this impending contract.
3) If the planning, implementation, and utilization of entire mission lines such as LWS are placed at a single institution, it will be difficult to avoid the establishment of an exclusive organization with the rigidity and emphasis on self-preservation of a monopoly. The proposed centralization of the entire process for an entire line of missions, from planning to building the spacecraft and instruments to analyzing the data, lacks sufficient oversight, potentially increases the vulnerability of the program, and restricts community involvement. As a consequence, SEC might not be able to meet its scientific and fiscal responsibilities to NASA, the scientific community, and the public.
As described in the Commerce Business Daily, this award is vaguely defined, inadequately justified, and exceedingly open-ended in scope. If existing NASA expertise is bypassed to the extent stated in the CBD announcement, the likelihood of success for any mission will be greatly compromised. The solar physics community definitely wants to see LWS and other SEC missions succeed. Therefore we urge you to delay awarding this contract until the space and solar physics communities have been given sufficient opportunities to gauge and comment upon the extent and merit of the extensive changes proposed.
Dr. Judith T. Karpen
Chair, Solar Physics Division/AAS
Naval Research Laboratory
Washington, DC 20375-5352
for the SPD Committee: Dale Gary, Mark Giampapa, Peter Gilman, Karen Harvey, Todd Hoeksema, Steve Kahler, Jack Thomas, and Stephen Walton
cc: Thomas Russell,
>From "Alexander Kosovichev" <sasha@khors.Stanford.EDU>
>13 Mar 2000
Topical Issue of Solar Physics "Physics and Helioseismic Diagnostics of the Solar Core"
The editors of Solar Physics invite papers for a topical issue on "Physics and Helioseismic Diagnostics of the Solar Core" (editor: John Harvey, organizer: Alexander Kosovichev), with publication intended for the fall of 2000. The Topical Issue will include papers presented at the Workshop "Helioseismology at Low Angular Degree" (Stanford, December 9-11, 1999) and at the Special AGU Session "Structure and Rotation of the Solar Core" (San Francisco, December 13-14, 1999). Papers on this topic, which were not presented at these meetings, are also invited. All papers should be submitted to John Harvey (address: J.W.Harvey, Solar Physics, National Solar Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, Tucson, Arizona 85726 USA; e-mail: email@example.com) and marked "Submitted for Solar Core Topical Issue". The deadline for submission is May 15, 2000. One copy of submitted papers should be sent to A.G.Kosovichev, 455 via Palou, Stanford, CA 94305-4085, USA. All papers for the Topical Issue will be refereed and must meet the standards of regular research papers published in Solar Physics. Manuscripts electronically prepared using the Kluwer LaTeX 2e kluwer.cls and accompanying style files ( http://www.wkap.nl/kaphtml.htm/STYLEFILES ), and encapsulated PostScript figures are encouraged. For this issue only, such files (or their location on an accessible ftp server) may be submitted by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .
>From Jack Harvey <email@example.com>
>13 Mar 2000
Readers of Solar Physics will have noticed that a delay in publishing has occurred. The most recently published issue is November 1999. The editors and publishing staff are working hard to catch up as quickly as possible. The origin of the delay has both good and bad parts. As a service to the community, Solar Physics publishes up to two Topical Issues per year. The editors were overly optimistic about the speed of the production process associated with the Topical Issue that will appear in the December 1999 issue because nearly all of the papers were submitted electronically. This should have accelerated the production, but it did not because of the shear volume of submitted and accepted papers and several technical problems. That is the bad part. The good part, on the other hand, is the fact that the number and quality of papers submitted for December far exceeded our expectations. Nevertheless, as a result, the production of this issue, which includes a CD-ROM, interfered with the normal production flow.
At the same time, a second Topical Issue was in production, scheduled for March 2000. It also involved a large influx of high-quality papers that, together with the other Topical Issue, stressed the production capability. So many good papers resulted from the two topics, that an overflow volume was required. This is dated April, 2000. To eliminate this problem in the future, Topical Issues will not have firm publishing dates set too far in advance so that the normally rapid flow of papers will not be interrupted.
In summary, a large volume of excellent review and original research papers stressed the production. All of the issues of Solar Physics through May, 2000 are in various stages of printing and will be mailed as soon as possible.
The editors want to remind potential contributors of the opportunity to publish data on CD-ROM twice a year in Solar Physics. If you have movies, large amounts of tabular data, or many color figures, please take advantage of this free (and unique) service to authors.
Finally, the editors are working with the publisher to complete conversion to optional electronic handling of papers as quickly as possible. New abbreviated Instructions to Authors with details about this option, as well as traditional submissions, will be published in the January 2000 issue. Complete instructions will be posted soon on the Solar Physics home page. Also in the electronic realm, we are starting to explore the possibility of free electronic access to the journal for volumes older than three years.
The Editors of Solar Physics
>From Stephen Walton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>15 Mar 2000
The San Fernando Observatory Web site daily images at http://davinci.csun.edu/~astro/sfopics.cgi has recently been updated. In particular, we now post daily values of sunspot area, facular area, and three photometric parameters, as measured by our CFDT1 telescope. Graphs of the variations of these parameters with time for our entire data set are also available.
I'd like to take the liberty of calling particular attention to the K line excess. This is the spectral irradiance of faculae as seen through a 10-angstrom filter centered on the Calcium K line, integrated over the disk. One can see quite graphically (pun intended) the difference in level of activity between cycle 22 and cycle 23.
>From Vladimir Kuznetsov <email@example.com>
>4 Mar 2000
LEBEDEV PHYSICAL INSTITUTE (FIAN) RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
S.I.SYROVATSKY (1925-1979) MEMORIAL CONFERENCE
Was held March 2, 2000, Conference Hall, FIAN
V.L.Ginzburg. What are the present-day pressing problems in physics and astrophysics?
V.S.Imshennik. Thermonuclear explosion of a stellar carbon-oxygen core with convection taken into account (supernova IA).
G.E.Kocharov. Solar neutrino and solar history.
S.V.Bulanov. Stochastic nature of magnetic field lines in the presence of current sheets.
L.M.Zelenyi. Regular and stochastic plasma dynamics in current sheets.
G.M.Batanov. S.I.Syrovatskii and development of experimental studies of current sheets.
>14 Mar 2000
Title: A crossroad on physics and eclipses of the sun
Venue: Elzenveld, Antwerp Belgium
Dates: 14 - 15 October, 2000
Over the last years, there have been dramatic changes in solar eclipse travelling. Solar Eclipse specialists meet most of the time in the shadow of the Moon. Solar Eclipse meetings out of totality are rare, or are mainly focused on solar physics. The Solar Eclipse Mailing List and the Solar Eclipse Newsletter has been successful as a vehicle in bringing together solar eclipse enthusiast, professional and amateurs alike.
Because there is no central eclipse in 2000 we have been presented with a perfect opportunity for an International Solar Eclipse Conference.
We have had this project in mind for some time, but mainly due to planning eclipse travels it has been put on hold. The aim of the conference is to bring together professional's and amateurs, addicts, enthusiasts, and chasers, as with the mailing list and the newsletter, sharing information, knowledge, and experience.
Organisers: Patrick Poitevin and Joanne Edmonds
[Editor's note: My browser (Netscape 4.72) went into a waiting loop at this site, though hitting the 'Stop' button showed its contents. The page about this meeting can be accessed directly at http://www.eclipsechasers.net/home/home.html .]
7A, The Drift
Rowlands Castle, Havant
PO9 6DG Hampshire, England
Belgian Contact address: Poitevin, Secretaris Meyerslei 69, 2170 Merksem
A list of invited speakers and discussion topics is available on the Web site.
06 December 1999 Guest speakers intro
15 February 2000 First announcement
15 March 2000 Second announcement
10 April 2000 Abstract of Papers
15 May 2000 Final announcement
12 June 2000 Abstract of Posters
12 June 2000 Final Manuscript of Papers
06 August 2000 Accommodation Bookings Required
05 September 2000 Registration date for late fee imposed
14 October 2000 Solar eclipse Conference, Antwerp
SolarNews is normally distributed on the first and fifteenth of each month.
The SPD Web site can be found at http://umbra.nascom.nasa.gov/aas_spd . The HTML version of SolarNews is at http://gong.nso.edu/SolarNews . It contains in-line hyperlinks to all the Web sites and e-mail addresses mentioned in this issue. Plain text back issues can be retrieved via anonymous FTP to solar.stanford.edu.
Submissions to SolarNews should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org . Please try to keep meeting and workshop announcements to no more than one page (50 to 60 lines of typed text with 72 characters per line), with a Web address for further information.
SolarMail address changes should be made via the Web site at http://solar.stanford.edu if possible. Otherwise, e-mail them to both editor and email@example.com . Indicate if you wish your new address published in SolarNews.
Keep those cards and letters coming.
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