February 20, 2013
American Center for Physics
College Park, MD
Date: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Speaker: Kent S. Wood, Space Sciences Div. Code 7655, Naval Research Laboratory
Topic: The Large Area Telescope on Fermi and Pan-STARRS-1 (PS1) as Contemporaneous All-Sky Monitors
Time and Location: 1:00 PM, with Q&A to follow, in a 1st floor conference room at the American Center for Physics, 1 Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD-- off River Rd., between Kenilworth Ave. and Paint Branch Parkway.
Abstract: Time domain astronomy is increasingly important in all bands of the electromagnetic spectrum. The Large Area Telescope (LAT) onboard NASA's Fermi satellite is effectively an all-sky monitor in high energy gamma-rays. It is the first such monitor in that band, but is also a highly sensitive instrument that catalogs the faintest sources yet detected at those energies. Sources found by Fermi emit across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Multi-wavelength observing campaigns can be pursued a new way - on an all-sky basis - provided the LAT can be correlated with other all-sky monitors with comparably powerful sky coverage and sensitivity. The Pan-STARRS 1 (PS1) optical survey is currently the appropriate counterpart for visible wavelengths. It has completed coverage of three-fourths of the sky, all Declinations north of -30 degrees, and continues repeated monitoring in five filters over all that sky. PS1 observations are contemporaneous with the Fermi satellite. The talk will describe Fermi and Pan-STARRS and then discuss how their all-sky data are merged for purposes such as cross-identifying sources by correlated variability or by establishing precise positions for optical counterparts to the Fermi sources.
Biography: Dr Wood completed undergraduate work in physics at Stanford University and his Ph.D. in physics at MIT, with Prof. Philip Morrison. He has been at the Naval Research Laboratory since 1973, where he now heads the UV/X-ray Astrophysics and Applications Section. Most of his work at NRL has concerned celestial sources of X-ray and gamma-ray radiation, including development and operation of space-based sensor systems. He led scientific analysis on NRL's experiment on the HEAO-1 satellite leading to an all-sky X-ray source catalog that was the most complete for its era. His astrophysical research has emphasized compact objects such as neutron stars and black holes. Starting in the 1980s he led development of the USA Experiment on the ARGOS satellite, which conducted observations of highly variable X-ray sources and was the first systematic study of X-ray navigation, which is the use of celestial X-ray sources for navigation of satellites. He worked on the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope since its conceptual inception in the 1990s and since 2005 has also been developing methods for using Fermi and the optical telescope Pan-STARRS jointly as tools for all-sky contemporaneous multi-wavelength observation.