Division D High Energy Phenomena and Fundamental Physics


Bulletin 13:  April 1 2017


* Commission D1: Gravitational Waves

* Update on LIGO’s second observing run

* News from the IAU's Office of Astronomy for Development

* When experts disagree (on high energy astrophysics)

* Editorial board of “Astrophysics and Space Science”

* Frontiers in Astronomy & Space Sciences special collection

* Upcoming Meetings

* In memoriam

* Commission D1: Gravitational Waves

The recent passing of the Commission President, Neil Gehrels (February 6, 2017), required filling the position vacancy mid-term, a situation apparently not anticipated in the IAU Working Rules and By-Laws. After consultation with the IAU Secretary, the Division Steering Committee appointed Dr. Marica Branchesi, the Vice-President, as Commission President and also as representative in the Gravitational Wave International Committee (GWIC). Dr. Brancusi was also asked to name a new Vice-President for Commission D.1. Finally, given these special circumstances, the DSC also unanimously voted to open the next election to all the Commission members allowing both Dr. Branchesi and the new Vice-Chair to run for office, together with any other candidates.

* Update on LIGO’s second observing run

The second Advanced LIGO run began on November 30, 2016 and is currently in progress. As of February 23 approximately 30 days of Hanford-Livingston coincident science data have been collected, with a scheduled break between December 22, 2016 and January 4, 2017. The average reach of the LIGO network for binary merger events has been around 70 Mpc for 1.4+1.4 Msun, 300 Mpc for 10+10 Msun and 700 Mpc for 30+30 Msun mergers, with relative variations in time of the order of 10%.

So far, 3 event candidates, identified by online analysis using a loose false-alarm-rate threshold of one per month, have been identified and shared with astronomers who have signed memoranda of understanding with LIGO and Virgo for electromagnetic followup. A thorough investigation of the data and offline analysis are in progress; results will be shared when available. Monthly update will be given at: http://www.ligo.org/news/index.php

*  News from the IAU's Office of Astronomy for Development

The Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) supports the use of astronomy-related initiatives to improve conditions for humanity through an annual, open, global call for proposals (next call date: early May 2017). The OAD released its first Yearbook in 2016, an annual publication that reflects on the activities and accomplishments of the OAD and the global community during the year. The Yearbook looks back at all the projects funded across the world and highlights of the year’s activities. Download the OAD Yearbook 2016 [https://www.dropbox.com/s/qao9p4cl59edk6s/OAD%20Yearbook%202016.pdf?dl=0]

In January 2017, Vanessa McBride [http://www.astro4dev.org/?p=15676] joined the OAD and works at the interface between astronomers, the OAD and development. One of our key objectives is thinking about how we impact on the world -- see our blog post [http://www.astro4dev.org/?p=16114] for an explainer. Anna Wolter [https://www.iau.org/administration/membership/individual/7933/] will stay on as the Point of Contact for Div D for all the OAD initiatives. Do not hesitate in forwarding your questions and proposals.

* Other news:

Applications are open for the West African International Summer School for Young Astronomers [http://westafrica.astro4dev.org/astronomy-west-africa/] to be held in Ghana July 23 - August 6, 2017.

There has been an expression of interest in establishment of a European Regional Office and we are expecting a full proposal in the near future!

* When experts disagree (on high energy astrophysics)

IAU Div D members are invited to participate in a study being conducted by Luke Drury (Dublin Institute for Advanced Study, Luke.Drury@dias.ie) and other members of the When Experts Disagree project http://whenexpertsdisagree.ucd.ie), an interdisciplinary research project funded by the Irish Research Council. The goal of the project is to gain a better understanding of the role and consequences of disagreement among scientific experts and its implications for policy decisions by governmental agencies and the formation of public opinion.

You will be asked some questions about disagreement concerning cosmic ray astrophysics (take this to mean high-energy astrophysics and not just pure cosmic ray studies) and, more importantly, how you think about that disagreement, as well as a few questions about yourself.

Your participation in this study should take approximately 5 to 10 minutes.

If your birthday falls between January and June, please click here: https://vovici.com/wsb.dll/s/8727g59cc0.

If your birthday falls between July and December, please click here: https://vovici.com/wsb.dll/s/8727g59cc1.

This study is being conducted by Profs. James Beebe (Dept. of Philosophy, University at Buffalo, jbeebe2@buffalo.edu), Maria Baghramian (Dept. of Philosophy, University College Dublin, maria.baghramian@ucd.ie), and Luke Drury (Dublin Institute for Advanced Study, Luke.Drury@dias.ie). Results from the study will be published at http://whenexpertsdisagree.ucd.ie. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact one of the investigators for more information.

* Felix Aharonian joins editorial board of “Astrophysics and Space Science”

Editors in Chief Elias Brinks and Jeremy Mould, and Executive Editor for Astronomy Ramon Khanna, are happy to announce that Felix Aharonian has agreed to serve on the editorial board of the journal “Astrophysics and Space Science” as Associate Editor for High Energy Astrophysics. Astrophysics and Space Science publishes original contributions and invited reviews covering the entire range of astronomy, astrophysics, astrophysical cosmology, planetary and space science and the astrophysical aspects of astrobiology. The journal also publishes topically selected special issues in research fields of particular scientific interest. Conference proceedings will not be considered. Astrophysics and Space Science features short publication times after acceptance and colour printing free of charge. For more information visit www.springer.com/apss.

*  Frontiers in Astronomy & Space Sciences special collection

Frontiers in Astronomy & Space Sciences [1], is a gold open access journal published by Frontiers Publishing [2]. They are preparing a special Research Topic article collection, “Imagining the Future” (ITF), focused on next-decade and beyond research directions, projects, technologies, and project proposals for furthering astronomy, astrophysics, and the space sciences.  They are calling this article collection

An important motivation behind ITF is to make articles addressing vision and opportunities - which sometimes achieve limited distribution via conference proceedings immediately before or concurrently with the beginning of strategic planning exercises - readily accessible to the broadest possible community when they can have the greatest impact: i.e., well in advance of major national or international downselects or strategic planning exercises. With this in mind, articles suitable for Imagining the Future include, but are not limited to, the kind of review or prospectus that

* Proposes or describes progress in the planning, construction, or commissioning of new observational instruments or facilities;

* Highlights areas of theoretical, computational, observational, or experimental astronomy, astrophysics, or space science research poised for rapid advance in the coming decades;

* Identifies new or existing technologies or capabilities that can - with suitable targeted investment - be leveraged to facilitate, enhance, or accelerate the development of future generation astronomical, space science, or laboratory astrophysics instrumentation; or

* Calls attention to challenges facing observational astronomy or theoretical, computational, or laboratory-based astrophysics.

All manuscripts submitted to the ITF collection will be peer-reviewed; accepted manuscripts will be published as regular open-access Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences articles, indexed in ADS and INSpires, and collected at a special "Imagining the Future” Research Topic web site.

For questions please contact Chief Editor Professor Sam Finn (lsfinn@gwastro.org). For planning purposes it would be helpful if astronomers, astrophysicists, and space scientists who are interested in submitting to this article collection would submit a rough abstract at the Imagining the Future web site at the ITF Home Page [3] as soon as possible. The provisional manuscript deadline is September 15, 2017.

[1] Frontiers in Astronomy & Space Sciences Home Page: <http://journal.frontiersin.org/journal/astronomy-and-space-sciences>

[2] Frontiers Publisher Home Page: <http://journal.frontiersin.org>

[3] Imagining the Future Home Page: <http://journal.frontiersin.org/researchtopic/5499/imagining-the-future>

* Upcoming Conferences, Meetings, Workshops and Schools

SPSAS-HighAstro - São Paulo School of Advanced Science on High Energy and Plasma Astrophysics in the CTA Era
May 21-31, 2017
São Paulo, Brazil, Universidade de São Paulo, IAG-USP


The X-ray Universe 2017
June 6-9, 2017
Centro Congressi Frentani, Rome, Italy


EWASS 2017
26-30 June 2017
Prague, Czech Republic


The following symposia may be of particular interest to Div D members

S6: Physics and Demography of AGN and Starburst Winds (http://eas.unige.ch/EWASS2017/session.jsp?id=S6)

S10: Properties and evolution of accreting compact objects in low and high mass X-ray binaries (http://eas.unige.ch/EWASS2017/session.jsp?id=S10)

S11: A multi-messenger look at the origin of gamma-ray bursts (http://eas.unige.ch/EWASS2017/session.jsp?id=S11)

S12: Accreting Black holes at their extremes (http://eas.unige.ch/EWASS2017/session.jsp?id=S12)

S13: The multi­frequency gravitational wave universe (http://eas.unige.ch/EWASS2017/session.jsp?id=S13)


7th East-Aisa School and Workshop on Laboratory, Space, Astropysical Plasmas (EASW-7)
July 24-29 2017
Weihai, China


From Chandra to Lynx: Taking the Sharpest X-ray Vision Fainter and Farther
August 8-10, 2017
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA


Bursting Universe by Robots Eyes
14-18 August 2017
Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia


IAU Symposium 337 - 50 Years of Pulsars
4-8 September 2017
Jodrell Bank Observatory, United Kingdom


The Modern Physics of Neutron Stars and Relativistic Gravity
18- 22 September, 2017
Yerevan, Armenia


IAU Symposium S339, "Southern Horizons in Time-Domain Astronomy"
13-17 November 2017
Cape Town, South Africa

* In memoriam

We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of the following IAU Members:

- Fred (Kwok-Yung) Lo


- Yu-Ying Zhang

- Neil Gehrels





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