Mission Status Report #30 Star Date: February 7, 2000
FUSE is already making ground-breaking observations pertaining to both hot and cold gas in our galaxy. To emphasize the dramatic improvements in scientific productivity that will now be possible with FUSE, here is a comparison between a FUSE spectrum and one obtained of the same object during a recent Space Shuttle mission using the ORFEUS telescope in 1996. The improved sensitivity and resolving power of FUSE enable astronomers to see a large number of new atomic and molecular features that could only be guessed at before.
(Click image to see larger version.)
FUSE Continues to Impress
It's been awhile since my last report, but there is little "news" to tell you all about!
By all counts, the FUSE mission is progressing well. We are keeping the satellite trained on science targets the majority of the time these days, with occasional forays to special targets that allow us to better manage the alignment of the telescopes. What seemed like a new way of doing business a month ago has become normalcy, and we are proceeding well in making observations for the science plan called "Cycle 1". Regular observations for both Guest Investigators and the FUSE Science Team are proceeding nominally.
Most of the effort by the science and operations team has now moved "behind the scenes" (which is to say "not very interesting" from the public's perspective!). We are working hard to improve our procedures for planning observations and get our planning database in line with our current operations. For example, most program inputs have their roots in information provided to us prior to launch; we have learned enough about FUSE operations now to know that some of these premission assumptions need to be revised. Hence, we are iterating with our user community to get our database current. (I told you it wasn't very interesting--but it is still crucial to smooth operatiions!)
In addition, a lot of work has occurred behind the scenes to improve our ability to calibrate the data properly, assess the data, and archive it so that users can get their data in a timely way. We have seen dramatic steps in this direction over the last month, and the user community will soon see the benefits of this work. In particular, we are hosting a Data Workshop for the user community Feb. 14-15, in Baltimore where much of this information will be shared.
In the mean time, we continue to hear good reports about our presentations at the AAS meeting in Atlanta last month (see Figure above for an example). If you missed it, some of the highlights can be viewed HERE!
Reported by: Bill Blair, Chief of Mission Planning
Return to the List of Status Reports