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In this issue:
Let's Celebrate GLAST!
GLAST Spacecraft Powered Up and Sending Data
GLAST Prelude Makes SLAC Debut Today
When Computers Look at Art: Image Analysis of the Visual Arts

SLAC Today

Monday - June 30, 2008


Let's Celebrate GLAST!

Join your coworkers and your friends in Panofsky Auditorium at 2:00 p.m. today for a special event to mark the launch of GLAST!

Festivities will kick off with a special screening of the GLAST Prelude and footage of the GLAST launch. Remarks from Persis Drell, GLAST Principal Investigator Peter Michelson, NASA GLAST Program Manager Kevin Grady and NASA GLAST Project Scientist and Astrophysicist Steve Ritz will be followed by beverages, snacks and rocket pops out on the SLAC cafeteria patio.

Now in orbit 350 miles above the Earth, GLAST has unfurled its solar panel "wings" and is undergoing a series of checks and calibrations. All of the Large Area Telescope's one million channels of electronics have now been powered on.  Clearly, it's time to celebrate!

SLAC Receiving

Now that the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) is up in space, where does the data go? As of last week, it started flowing to SLAC's GLAST Instrument Science Operations Center (ISOC) via a link from the satellite to a ground station and a mission operations center at NASA Goddard, Greenbelt, Md. At SLAC, the data is being monitored, processed and distributed to the rest of the science team worldwide.

Beginning last Wednesday, the ISOC team excitedly watched power being turned to the electronics systems of the Large Area Telescope (LAT). One by one, they fed power to the 16 towers of silicon detector strips until all were switched on and responding as expected. (Or as they say in NASA vernacular, "nominally.")

ISOC manager Rob Cameron from SLAC said, "Everything went faster and smoother than we expected—it's going great." In the GLAST mission support room in Building 84, ISOC team members monitor data coming from the LAT, and work to configure, tune, and calibrate the instrument to ensure they get the very best data possible for the upcoming science mission.

Peter Michelson, of Stanford University, spokesperson and principal investigator for the LAT collaboration, said, "We're off to a great start and we're looking forward to a new view of our universe once science operations begin."

Approximately 30 LAT collaboration members from around the world are currently visiting SLAC to assist in the commissioning phase to bring the LAT to its mission-ready performance, meeting daily in the KIPAC auditorium.

Eduardo do Couto e Silva, a deputy manager of the ISOC at SLAC, said, "We can't wait to see the gamma-ray sky through GLAST 'eyes' and to share with the world what we find in the months and years ahead."

For more information about GLAST, see the SLAC GLAST pages and the NASA GLAST pages.

Colloquium Monday

When Computers Look at Art: Image Analysis of the Visual Arts

In this afternoon's colloquium, Stanford Professor David G. Stork will present When Computers Look at Art: Image Analysis of the Visual Arts. The colloquium takes place at 4:15 today in Panofsky Auditorium. All are invited to attend. Learn more...

GLAST Prelude Makes SLAC Debut Today

(Photo - GLAST launch)
As GLAST launched, revelers in Cocoa Beach, Florida, listened to the GLAST Prelude, which was composed especially for the launch.
(Photo courtesy of Marcus Ziegler.)

As the excitement rose at the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) launch party in Cocoa Beach, Florida, the music swelled. Guests paused their reveling to listen to the GLAST Prelude for brass quintet, Op.12, a twelve minute classical music piece composed especially for the launch and played in unison with a video showing footage of the construction and launch of GLAST, as well as some original graphics created by the NASA Goddard Television and Multimedia Group. The piece was prerecorded by the world-renowned American Brass Quintet of New York and can be viewed online.

Pierre Schwob, a SLAC enthusiast and one of the primary donators to the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, commissioned classical composer Nolan Gasser to write the piece. Gasser, who also works with Schwob on the online ClassicalArchives, says science became "a newfound, intense passion" as he learned more and more about the science of GLAST.

"It's a celebration piece," said Schwob, who continued by saying that he hopes the Prelude won't fade out after the launch. He sees the music and video as an investment to further support the science he loves. "I really want it to educate the government, the press, and the public about science and the needs and extraordinary achievements of our scientists."

Schwob and Gasser are now preparing for the symphony that Gasser will compose to accompany a 40-minute narrative of the history of the universe. The narrative is being written collaboratively by Schwob and scientist and author Lawrence Krauss. That symphony will be performed by the Boston University Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 2009 to coincide with the release of the first year's data at the GLAST Symposium in Washington D.C.

You are invited to enjoy the GLAST Prelude at this afternoon's GLAST celebration, which begins at 2:00 p.m. in Panofsky Auditorium.


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