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In this issue:
Fermi Gamma-ray Telescope Spots 'Superflares' in the Crab Nebula
Welcome, New SLACers!
Lab-wide release of the new SLAC eShop May 16

SLAC Today

Thursday - May 12, 2011

Fermi Gamma-ray Telescope Spots 'Superflares' in the Crab Nebula

A Hubble visible light image of the Crab Nebula inset against a full-sky gamma ray map showing the location of the nebula (croshairs). (Image: NASA.)

The famous Crab Nebula supernova remnant has erupted in an enormous flare five times more powerful than any flare previously seen from the object. On April 12, NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope first detected the outburst, which lasted six days.

The nebula is the wreckage of an exploded star that emitted light which reached Earth in the year 1054. It is located 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Taurus. At the heart of an expanding gas cloud lies what is left of the original star's core, a superdense neutron star that spins 30 times a second. With each rotation, the star swings intense beams of radiation toward Earth, creating the pulsed emission characteristic of spinning neutron stars (also known as pulsars). 

Apart from these pulses, astrophysicists believed the Crab Nebula was a virtually constant source of high-energy radiation. But in January, scientists associated with several orbiting observatories, including NASA's Fermi, Swift and Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, reported long-term brightness changes at X-ray energies.

"The Crab Nebula hosts high-energy variability that we're only now fully appreciating," said Rolf Buehler, a member of the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) team at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, a facility jointly located at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University.

Read more from NASA...

(Photo)
(Photo by Maria Mastrokyriakos.)

Welcome, New SLACers!

SLAC welcomed seven recently hired employees at New Employee Orientation on May 5. Please welcome our new staff as they embark on their new career paths here at SLAC.

From left to right: Yolanda Casas, Diana Doon, Kevin Carrell, Robert Spaulding, David Zamora, Richard Cellamare and Lori Ann White.

Lab-wide release of the new SLAC eShop May 16

Training May 16, 17 at 1 p.m.

The Supply Chain Management team is reintroducing eShop, SLAC's online marketplace! eShop is the recommended purchasing method at SLAC for applicable equipment and materials. Using eShop saves time and money, and provides a fast, efficient online source for searching and purchasing a wide variety of products at SLAC-negotiated prices.

By using eShop, you and SLAC benefit through:

  • Friendly shopping experience
  • Increased user satisfaction
  • Increased self service
  • One-stop shopping
  • Easily retrievable on-line pricing information
  • Reduced need for other purchasing methods like PeopleSoft purchase orders and the SLAC Purchase Card (PCard)

Gordon Scrimger, SCM eShop project manager, will present two additional eShop training sessions (one hour each) in the Kavli Auditorium on May 16 and 17 at 1 p.m. Training is open to all SLAC employees.

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