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News from 2005

December 14, 2005 - Cosmic Explosion Could Be Black Hole Swallowing Neutron Star
Scientists using NASA's Swift satellite have found evidence of a black hole swallowing a neutron star. The discovery is reported in the December 15 issue of Nature.
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December 5, 2005 - Additional XRT CALDB Release
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November 28, 2005 - New CALDB and Software Release
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November 9, 2005 - Swift Wins "Best of What's New" in Popular Science
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November 9, 2005 - Mission Director's Report Update
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October 7, 2005 - New CALDB and Software Release
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October 5, 2005 - In A Flash Nasa Helps Solve 35-Year-Old Cosmic Mystery
Scientists have solved the 35-year-old mystery of the origin of powerful, split-second flashes of light known as short gamma-ray bursts. These flashes, brighter than a billion suns, yet lasting only a few milliseconds, have been simply too fast to catch -- until now.
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September 20, 2005 - Swift Newsletter, Issue 2
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September 12, 2005 - Most Distant Explosion Detected, Smashes Previous Record
Scientists using NASA's Swift satellite and several ground-based telescopes have detected the most distant explosion yet, a gamma-ray burst from the edge of the visible universe.
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August 22, 2005 - UVOT rmf CALDB Updates
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August 18, 2005 - NASA's Swift Satellite Finds Newborn Black Holes
Scientists using NASA's Swift satellite say they have found newborn black holes, just seconds old, in a confused state of existence. The holes are consuming material falling into them while somehow propelling other material away at great speeds.
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August 8, 2005 - New CALDB and Software Release
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July 12, 2005 - Changes in Early Processing of Swift GRB Data
The SDC has recently put in place several processing enhancements that result in faster processing and availability of the first Swift data from GRBs.
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July 1, 2005 - New! UVOT Digest Web Page
UVOT users now have a one-page reference for current calibration and science analysis issues.
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May 11, 2005 - NASA Scientists Catch Unique Gamma-Ray Burst
NASA scientists have, for the first time, detected and pinned down the location of a short gamma-ray burst, lasting only 50 milliseconds. The burst marks the birth of a black hole.
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May 3, 2005 - Swift Newsletter (Issue 1)
First issue of the Swift Newsletter
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April 12, 2005 - Swift Archive Opens
New CALB & Software Release
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April 5, 2005 - Welcome Swift Science Users!
Beginning Tuesday April 5, 2005, data from the Swift observatory will be made available to the community as soon as it is processed. During the 4.5 month commissioning phase, the instrument teams and the Swift Science Center and Swift Data Center staffs have been focused on shaking out the bugs in the system. Find out what resources exist to help you start analyzing Swift data!
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April 5, 2005 - Swift Mission Nabs Its First Distance Measurement to Star Explosion
Penn State University Press Release
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April 5, 2005 - Upcoming Swift Software & Calibration Release
The next Swift software (v2.0) and Swift CALDB releases are expected to occur on the 11th of April 2005, in conjunction with the HEAsoft v6.0 software release.
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March 24, 2005 - Swift Data Publicly Available Starting April 5, 2005
April 5, 2005 marks the end of the 4.5 month launch and early orbit check-out of the Swift gamma-ray burst observatory and the beginning of normal science operations. One of the key features of the Swift mission is that data are made immediately public. This will begin with the start of normal operations on April 5. Here is an overview of the plan for how this will take place.
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February 18, 2005 - NASA Observes One of Brightest Cosmic Explosions
Scientists detected a flash of light from across the Galaxy so powerful; it bounced off the moon and lit up the Earth's upper atmosphere. The flash was brighter than anything ever detected from beyond our Solar System, and it lasted over a tenth of a second.
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February 15, 2005 - NASA's Newest Observatory Detects Record-Making Gamma Rays
NASA's Swift Observatory and others have detected what could be the brightest gamma ray flash ever. Researchers will discuss what causes these flashes and their impact on our surrounding solar system at the next NASA Science Update.
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February 01, 2005 - Swift Sees Pinwheel Galaxy, Satellite Fully Operational
The Swift satellite's Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope (UVOT) has seen first light, capturing an image of the Pinwheel Galaxy, long loved by amateur astronomers as the "perfect" face-on spiral galaxy. The UVOT now remains poised to observe its first gamma-ray burst.
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January 21, 2005 - Swift Mission Images the Birth of a Black Hole
The NASA-led Swift mission has detected and imaged its first gamma-ray burst, likely the birth cry of a brand new black hole.
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January 6, 2004 - Swift at the AAS: Hear about first results
Swift will the focus of five talks at the San Diego AAS meeting January 9-14, 2005. Initial on-orbit performance of the BAT and XRT will be discussed by instrument leads Scott Barthelemy and Dave Burrows. UVOT lead Pete Roming will give an overview of the UVOT instrument. PI Neil Gehrels will describe the Swift Mission while MOC Lead John Nousek will discuss Swift operations and instruments. Come listen in for the latest news on commissioning the Swift observatory!
New: Download the presentations
 
Session 116: Wendesday, January 12th, 10:00-11:30, Town and Country
  • 116.01: The Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission - Neil Gehrels - (PDF or PowerPoint)
  • 116.02: Status of Swift Observations & Instruments - John Nousek - (PDF or PowerPoint)
Session 160: Thursday, January 13th, 10:00-11:30, Pacific Salon 1
  • 160.01: The Swift-BAT Instrument - Initial On-Orbit Performance - Scott Barthelmy - (PDF or PowerPoint)
  • 160.02: Initial Performance of the Swift XRT - Dave Burrows - (PDF or PowerPoint)
  • 160.03: The Swift Ultra-Violet/Optical Telescope - Pete Roming - (PDF or PowerPoint)
January 5, 2005 - Swift X-ray Telescope Sees Its First Light and Captures Its First Gamma-Ray-Burst Afterglow
Penn State University Press Release
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January 5, 2005 - NASA Swift Mission Turns on and Sees a Blast of Bursts
The NASA-led Swift mission opened its doors to a flurry of gamma ray burst action. Scientists were still calibrating the main instrument, the Burst Alert Telescope (BAT), when the first burst appeared on December 17. Three bursts on December 19, and one on December 20, followed.
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January 03, 2005 - UVOT First Light to come in 2005
Due to the Christmas and New Year's holidays, and vacation schedules, the UltraViolet and Optical Telescope (UVOT) aboard Swift has had its first light image rescheduled to January 4th, 2005.

The UVOT door was opened Tuesday, Dec. 14. Originally, the plan was to turn on the high voltage to the UVOT detector system a week after the door opening. Because of the particular launch date, that would have put the first check-out of the fully activated instrument right at Christmas and continuing into the holiday week. To avoid unnecessary risk, it was decided to wait until early January to turn on the high voltage.