"Balloon-borne detectors, flying at the top of the atmosphere, can identify incoming particles before they are broken up in collisions with air nuclei," says University of Maryland's Eun Suk Seo, CREAM's principal investigator. "The science instrument, support systems, and operation scheme were successfully tested. … We are ready for a ULDB flight." The ULDB program anticipates flights of up to 100 days.
CREAM was airborne December 9 to January 27. The device is designed to explore how fast supernovae accelerate cosmic rays — protons, electrons, and heavy nuclei from beyond the solar system that slam into Earth's atmosphere. The balloon — weighing 4,055 pounds (1,839 kilograms) itself — lofted the 2-ton package to an altitude of 125,000 feet (38,100 meters), while expanding to a diameter of 450 feet (137m) in the thin air. — Francis ReddyAAVSO's new director
Effective March 1, Arne Henden will become director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers
(AAVSO), the organization announced today. He succeeds Janet Mattei
, who directed the group from 1973 until her death March 22, 2004.
Bill Dillon, AAVSO president, describes Henden as "a perfect fit." Henden is a senior research scientist for the Universities Space Research Association at the United States Naval Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. Henden's research interests include optical and near-infrared imaging, variable stars, gamma-ray-burst afterglows, and collaborations between amateur and professional astronomers.
AAVSO is an international, nonprofit, scientific organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It coordinates, compiles, digitizes, and disseminates observations of variable stars to researchers, educators, and students worldwide. — Francis Reddy