The Scout Report for Science & Engineering - September 15, 1999

September 15, 1999

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The target audience of the new Scout Report for Science & Engineering is faculty, students, staff, and librarians in the life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering. Each biweekly issue offers a selective collection of Internet resources covering topics in the sciences, and related fields such as math and engineering, that have been chosen by librarians and content specialists in the given field of study.

The Scout Report for Science & Engineering is also provided via email once every two weeks. Subscription information is included at the bottom of each issue.

In This Issue


Learning Resources

General Interest

Current Awareness

New Data

In The News


Earth Observatory -- NASA
In keeping with the trend towards global-scale monitoring, NASA has launched this Website to highlight NASA research on "regional and global changes on the planet." The site is comprised of five main sections: Modeling Earth's Land Biosphere, Reckoning With Winds (tropical cyclones), Climate Modeling, El Nino, and Benjamin Franklin (earth science). Each section contains an illustrated summary of related research with links to further information and numerous spectacular color satellite images. The section entitled Observation Deck features a data chart showing all environmental measurements displayed by the Earth Observatory and for which months data are available. Further sections include Laboratory (hurricane research), Study (where scientists report from the field), Library (includes links to data sets), and Newsroom, among others. For those interested in participating in or learning about global-scale monitoring research, this is a solid, user-friendly site. [LXP]
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Fusion Ignition Research Experiment (FIRE) [MS Word, .pdf]
A division of the Princeton Plasma Research Laboratory (described in the July 1, 1994 Scout Report for Science & Engineering), the Fusion Ignition Research Experiment (FIRE) aims "to attain, explore, understand and optimize alpha-dominated plasmas to provide knowledge for the design of attractive Magnetic Fusion systems." Up-to-date, downloadable reports (.pdf and MS Word formats) contain background information and reviews of US fusion policy, Snowmass Fusion Summer Study working group summaries, FIRE reports on physics and engineering design considerations, and an engineering appendix. Clearly displayed, this site harbors a wealth of dense information for researchers interested in the design of magnetic fusion systems. [KR]
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Cortical Neuron Net Database [Java, .pdf]
The APLYSIA Project
Researchers at Cornell University Medical College are developing "an Internet-accessible database of electrophysiological and other information describing cortical neurons and their characteristic responses to somatosensory and other stimuli." The homepage describes the Cortical Neuron Database Project (part of the Human Brain Project), including the Common Data Model (Java), Vocabulary for Neuroscience Metadata, and a series of the project's research abstracts (.pdf) to be presented at the 1999 Human Brain Project Conference in October. Interested viewers should also check out The APLYSIA Project page, which describes the development of a similar (invertebrate/ molluscan) Web-accessible database. The Aplysia project database will enhance identification of molluscan neurons, the largest and best-studied nerve cells in the animal kingdom. [LXP]
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MolBank, an interesting resource for chemists, "is an electronic journal where very short notes of searchable experimental data records for individual molecules are published." Affiliated with the magazine Molecules and Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI), MolBank is particularly interested in unconventional, experimental data such as starting materials and synthetic intermediates. Adhering to a single page, single structure format, the up-to-date, refereed papers are searchable by substructure or chemical and physical characteristics. Submission guidelines are also available at the site. [KR]
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Research Register
Literati's Research Registers
The journal Environmental Management and Health, in cooperation with various international agencies, is establishing a new, online register of research projects on environmental management and health. To be launched in 2000, the aim of the register is "to document and disseminate information on on-going projects in (environmental management and health) ... and to foster networks." A research project registration form is provided at the Research Register page (no projects will be displayed until 2000, however), and a description of the program's greater intent is available at the Literati's Research Registers (MCB University Press) site. Early-career scientists may also benefit from the articles and advice on How To Get Published on the Literati page. [LXP]
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Project National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) Drifters [.pdf, .ps, .zip, Quicktime]
The National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) uses drifting buoys to track ocean currents. The Project NOPP Drifters Website contains near real time flow data updates, a deployment log, data products from the Drifting Buoy Data Assembly Center, and ocean images. Data products include trajectories and analyses of drifting buoys, drifter maps and reports, annual mean velocity estimates, and drifting buoy databases. A Year of the Ocean (YOTO) Drifter Tracking Chart is also available for download [.jpg or .ps]. While this remains a useful site for ocean researchers, an educational activities section provides classroom tools as well. [KR]
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Learning Resources

Interactive Atlases: Digital Anatomist Project
The Department of Biological Structure at the University of Washington, Seattle provides these Interactive Atlases, all of which may be useful as supplemental material in (human) anatomy classes. Each Atlas is comprised of a set of "structurally annotated" color images of each subject area (e.g., thorax, heart, neuroanatomy, or the knee). Containing 2-D and 3-D images from "cadaver sections, MRI scans, and computer reconstructions," the Atlases were designed with the college student in mind. A series of quizzes allows users to self-test knowledge on each topic. To get started, see the Atlas User Manual, provided in the section entitled Help on Program Use. [LXP]
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Four from ScienceNet
ScienceNet Chemistry Resources
ScienceNet Mathematics and Computing Resources
ScienceNet Physics and Astronomy Resources
ScienceNet Technology and Engineering Resources
These four Webpages from ScienceNet offer searchable databases of science information. Linked here are pages covering topics in chemistry, mathematics and computing, physics and astronomy, and technology and engineering. Each page contains numerous sections with scores of topics posed as questions. For example, the Physics page includes an Electromagnetic Spectrum section with clear explanations of potential mysteries such as "what is the unified field theory?" and "what makes up the electromagnetic spectrum?" Each page also offers articles and features, interviews, career information, and publications. If a particular topic is not covered, a template allows users to submit their own questions for consideration. ScienceNet is funded and supported by the National Lottery's Charities Board, Wellcome Trust, and the British Library, among others. [KR]
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Two on Tapirs
Tapir Specialist Group
The Tapir Gallery
Sharon Matola, chair of the Tapir Specialist Group (of the IUCN World Conservation Union), created the first site to highlight one of the world's most threatened groups of organisms. The site is essentially a newsletter with information on many in-situ (non-captive) research and conservation projects, a members list, news from the field, studbooks (for breeding of captive tapirs), and information about a discussion list ( An associated IUCN site, the Tapir Gallery, highlights several research projects, offers regular field updates, and outlines ways to contribute to tapir conservation. The site also contains images of the four remaining species of tapir (Baird's, Brazilian, Woolly Mountain, and Asian or Malayan Tapir) in addition to information on life history and conservation status. [LXP]
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WebMath, created by Physics PhD Tom Bensky, is an online program that instantly solves a wide variety of mathematical problems. A fill-in form lets users type in polynomials, quadratic equations, radical expressions, or almost any common mathematical expression. Click on the solve button, and WebMath gives back the desired solution complete with steps taken to arrive at the answer. The program is capable of handling derivatives, trigonometric expressions, and even word problems. [KR]
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CODATA Key Values for Thermodynamics
The Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA), founded in 1966 by the International Council of Scientific Unions, "has conducted a project to establish internationally agreed [upon] values for the thermodynamic properties of key chemical substances." This handy table provides students and researchers with recommended and consistent values to be applied to thermodynamic measurements, data reduction, or formulation of other thermodynamic tables. Included in this table are substances (abbreviated and listed alphabetically), states, the standard enthalpy of formation at 298.15 K, the entropy at 298.15 K, and the quantity H degrees (298.15 K)-H degrees(0). CODATA does not assume responsibility for any consequences of use of data. [KR]
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General Interest

The Mushroom Genus Laccaria in North America [Frames]
Botanist Gregory Mueller of The Field Museum (Chicago) has put together this spectacular resource on mushrooms in the genus Laccaria. Complete with a lengthy scientific introduction, the site contains a colorful, photo-illustrated species identification section (20+ species), an evolutionary tree for the genus, a pictorial key to aid in identification, an additional key for identifying Laccaria in Costa Rica, documentation of specimens examined, and a substantial Literature Cited section. For researchers, educators, students, and anyone else interested in these mushrooms, this is an excellent, information-rich, yet fully accessible, resource. [LXP]
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Yucca Mountain Home Page [.pdf]
Hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Yucca Mountain Home Page furnishes information about the EPA's role in this Nevada-based "underground geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste." The site answers frequently asked questions about the repository and supplies an overview of the various roles of federal agencies. The publications section includes detailed articles (in html or .pdf format) on radioactive waste disposal and the standards and regulations surrounding radioactive waste management. For another Yucca Mountain site, see the October 1, 1997 Scout Report for Science & Engineering. [KR]
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Wetlands Reserve Program [PowerPoint]
Recognizing that the health of the nation's wetlands depends on the fate of private (as well as public-owned) wetlands, the Wetlands Reserve Program is an important, voluntary initiative led by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to provide "technical and financial support" to help private landowners restore their wetlands. This straightforward site describes the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), including a map showing national WRP acreage, several question/ answer fact sheets, state programs and contacts, and a slide show (PowerPoint) entitled Producing Wildlife Habitat Results. Although the site targets the general public, students and educators will find it useful and instructive. [LXP]
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Enviromapper -- EPA [OpenLink]
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s Enviromapper uses innovative Web technology to view and locate environmental information on "drinking water, toxic and air releases, hazardous waste, water discharge permits, and Superfund sites." Thumbnail US map images expand with a click to show facilities regulated by the EPA, information about local watersheds, and local national priority list sites. Users may zoom in by clicking on a map or by entering a relevant state, county, city, watershed, zip code, or EPA region. The site also offers OpenLink, a facility that allows any Webpage to set up a hyperlink to Enviromapper. Instructions on how to use OpenLink are included. [KR]
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An Interactive Guide to Massachusetts Snakes
This wonderful site is more than a State guide to snakes. Provided by University of Massachusetts Extension, the Website includes a well-written introduction to snake biology, a history of snakes (mythology and reality), information on the conservation of snakes, and even a discussion of snake phobias. The heart of the site is the interactive dichotomous key for snake identification, however, where the user may select between two options to proceed towards a positive identification. The snake key is beautifully illustrated, with color paintings and drawings of fourteen species -- ranging from Black Racer to Worm Snake. Beginning students to seasoned researchers will find this well-conceived, informative resource both useful and pleasing. [LXP]
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Current Awareness
(For links to additional current awareness on tables of contents, abstracts, preprints, new books, data, conferences, etc., visit the The Scout Report for Science & Engineering Current Awareness Metapage:

Current Earthquake Information
A strong earthquake struck Istanbul, Turkey on Monday, only weeks after a major quake in the same area claimed more than 15,500 lives. The US Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center Website provides information on current earthquakes, including maps, data, fast moment solutions, and links to detailed textual and graphical resources. The second site, from The Why Files (see the August 9, 1996 Scout Report), offers background information on the science of earthquakes, with particular emphasis on the recent tectonic activity in Turkey. [LXP]
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Science for Tomorrow's Society
The British Council hosts a series of virtual publishing exhibitions on the Internet, the latest of which is entitled Science for Tomorrow's Society. Due to be replaced in October 1999, this exhibition represents a succinct selection of UK-published science titles covering subject areas that promise to impact the future. A section on Award-winning Books features books for both children and adults that have won or been short-listed for a major award. For example, last year's winner of the Science Book Prize, The Consumer's Good Chemical Guide, is described here. Other sections include Biotechnology and Bioscience, Information and Communication Technology, Public Understanding of Science, and Science Policy and Exploitation. Depending on the section, titles are aimed at both professional and general audiences. [KR]
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New Publications

"Wetlands of the Prairie Pothole Region: Invertebrate Species Composition, Ecology, and Management" [.zip]
Ned Euliss, Jr., Dale Wrubleski, and David Mushet coauthored this recently published book chapter (in Invertebrates in Freshwater Wetlands of North America) on invertebrate species of the Prairie Pothole Region. The text, which highlights the Prairie Pothole region, past invertebrate research, and biotic interactions, is accompanied by numerous tables and figures, all of which may be downloaded from the site (.zip format). [LXP]

Mathematical Reports Series [.ps. gz, .ps, .pdf, .TeX]
The Mathematics Department at the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) allows the public to view and print (PostScript and Gzipped) faculty research reports through its Mathematical Reports Series. The two latest reports for August 1999 are "Monotonicity of Conditional Distributions and Growth Models on Trees," by Thomas M. Liggett, and "The Absolute Degree and the Nielsen Root Number of Compositions and Cartesian Products of Maps," by Robin B.S. Brooks, Robert F. Brown, and Helga Schirmer. Also available are reports dating back to March 1999. [KR]

"Sandhill Cranes and the Platte River" -- NPWRC [.zip]
Gary Krapu, of the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC), wrote this chapter on Sandhill Cranes for a 1999 book entitled Gathering of Angels. The resource briefly covers the historical and current status of the majestic birds, as well as feeding ecology, migration and reproduction, and the implications of landscape change, among other topics. The chapter may be downloaded as a .zip file. [LXP]

Report on the Dual-Career-Couple Survey [.pdf]
The Physics Department at the College of William Mary has made available this very interesting report on the career challenges facing academic couples, especially those in the field of physics. The Report on the Dual-Career-Couple Survey, by Laurie McNeil and Marc Sher, focuses on "the difficulty of finding two professional jobs (possibly two physics jobs) in the same geographic location." The article presents the results of a 1998 survey conducted over the World Wide Web. Based on the responses, the report describes the types of problems that couples in this predicament commonly face and explores possible solutions for both institutions and individuals. [KR]

"Surviving Grant-Funded Employment"
This professionally targeted article from The Scientist tackles some of the difficulties faced by researchers basing careers on grant-funded employment. Links to related articles may be of further use to readers. [LXP]

Environmental History of Latin America: Bibliography
Historical environmentalists from Stanford University and Universidade Federal Flumeinense have compiled this online bibliography on the environmental history of Latin America. The bibliography features more than 300 references including current "articles, books, videos and WebPages in English, Spanish and Portuguese." [LXP]

Proceedings: ISO 140001 Environmental Management Systems Workshop [.pdf]
The Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security has posted online (.pdf format) the proceedings of a July 1999 workshop on "ISO 140001 Environmental Management Systems and their implications for public policy." The online proceedings summarize the workshop presentations and provide an overview of participants and associated agencies. [LXP]

Bibliography: Climate Change and Its Impact on Biodiversity
The Pacific Institute has launched this searchable, online bibliography of "peer-reviewed and gray literature related to climate change and its impacts on flora and fauna species (including the agricultural sector) and critical ecosystems." To date, more than 1,370 citations have been included. Note that the bibliography will be updated "every two months." [LXP]

Rock Falls from Glacier Point above Camp Curry, Yosemite National Park, California
This recent US Geological Survey Report, Rock falls from Glacier Point above Camp Curry, Yosemite National Park, California, by Gerald F. Wieczorek and James B. Snyder, provides a geological analysis of the potential for future rock falls onto Camp Curry from Glacier Point. More specifically, "the role of joint plane orientation and groundwater pressure in the fractured rock mass are discussed in light of the pattern of developing cracks and potential modes of failure." Text is complemented with excellent graphics including high-quality photographs. [KR]
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Job Openings in Science and Technology from the Chronicle of Higher Education
Although the Chronicle of Higher Education charges a fee to access the current week's job listings, extensive postings for the previous week are freely available. [LXP]

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Search
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) job search page displays NOAA jobs available throughout the United States. Users can display all employment opportunities or select listings by state or region. Users are asked to enter whether or not they are federal employees, and they may limit their searches to jobs posted within the last week. Note: Some of the jobs displayed may be restricted to agency and/or department employees only. [KR]

American Astronomical Society Job Register
The American Astronomical Society's Job Register lists jobs from previous months and those available this month. Tenure track, research, and fellowship positions are posted here. Please take note of the posted closing dates as some may apply to the current month. [KR]
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Scientific Computing Research Environments for the Mathematical Sciences (SCREMS) [ASCII, MS Word, .pdf]
The Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS) of the National Science Foundation gives Scientific Computing Research Environments for the Mathematical Sciences (SCREMS) Grants in "support of computing environments dedicated to research in the mathematical sciences." Funds support purchases of computer equipment, and limited support is given for hiring personnel to help with research computing needs. Awards are made to high quality researchers in need of suitable equipment for specific research projects only. All proposals must be submitted via FastLane by January 28, 2000. [KR]

1999 Engineering Journalism Award
The United Engineering Foundation and the American Association of Engineering Societies announce their $5000 1999 Engineering Journalism Award. This award "recognizes outstanding reporting of an event or issue which furthers public understanding of engineering." Entries must have first appeared in print or first been aired on radio or television between October 1, 1998 and December 31, 1999. The deadline for applications is January 15, 2000. [KR]
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Molluscs 2000: Understanding Molluscan Biodiversity in our Region into the 21st Century
The Malacological Society of Australia has announced the conference Mollusks 2000, to be held December 4-8, 2000 in Sydney, Australia. Conference organizers hope to include all interested scientists/ participants from the Australasian and Indo-west Pacific regions. One major focus of the meeting will be "to investigate new and improved ways of sharing and disseminating information and data throughout the region." Interested participants should send in an "Expression of interest" form (provided at the site). [LXP]

Eighth International Conference on Electronic Spectroscopy and Structure
The Eighth International Conference on Electronic Spectroscopy and Structure (ICESS-8) will be held at the Clark Kerr Campus of the University of California, Berkeley August 8-12, 2000. A continuation of the International Conference on Electron Spectroscopy (ICES) series, the conference "will deal with all aspects of electronic spectroscopy (photoelectron, Auger electron, electron energy loss, soft x-ray fluorescence, and soft x-ray absorption) as related to electronic structure and dynamics, as well as to atomic structure and dynamics, and in both gaseous and condensed phases." For more about the conference, contact information is supplied at the site. Note: No information is given on call for paper deadlines. [KR]

Extreme Floods Conference: The Extreme of the Extremes 2000
The Hydrological Service and the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS) have announced an international symposium on extreme floods to be held July 17-19, 2000 in Reykjavik, Iceland. The conference will emphasize extreme floods by rainfall, snow melt, and volcanic activity; prehistoric floods; floods caused by the removal or breaking of dams; and flood protection and minimization of flood hazards. Abstracts are due October 31, 1999. [LXP]

2000 Annual Spring Specialty Conference: Water Resources in Extreme Environments
Sponsored by the American Water Resources Association, the 2000 Annual Spring Specialty Conference, Water Resources in Extreme Environments, will be held in Anchorage, Alaska, between April 30 and May 4, 2000. The conference, pertaining specifically to water resource considerations in extreme environments, will explore the following core themes: process related hydrologic research, unique water resources engineering design problems, water management issues, data collection, and hydrologic processes in extreme environments of global significance. Abstracts of 250 words or fewer are due by November 1, 1999. An abstract submission form is available at the site. [KR]
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New Data

McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica: Satellite Image Product
New images of Antarctica were released today in a collaborative effort between the National Science Foundation, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, and the DCI Environmental Center. The images, which were recently declassified, provide "the first high-resolution, digital terrain-elevation model of the region, yielding accurate elevation data every 20 meters." A spectacularly clear, black-and-white image of the McMurdo Dry Valleys is shown at the 1:300,000 scale, and an inset of the eastern end of Lake Bonney and vicinity is shown at the 1:50,000 scale. The images of the McMurdo Dry Valleys elucidate the "cold desert terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem" and are an important data source in furthering scientific research "to enhance understanding of life in this extreme environment." [LXP]
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Climate Data Online -- NCDC/ NOAA
The National Climate Data Center has launched the Climatic Data Online (CDO) system, providing "full period of record digital data for 5 types of US climatic data: daily surface data, monthly surface data, hourly precipitation data, 15-minute precipitation data, and global monthly surface data." Records are available from as early as the late 1800s, and each dataset is updated as more data become available. Data may be selected spatially by region, country, state, climate division, county, and station; and selected temporally (by year, month, day, etc.). Data are organized by space- or comma-delimited format, and can include station name(s) and information if requested by the user. Note that "data are currently provided at no charge to .edu and .noaa users, with charges by credit card for others." [LXP]
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Quakeline Database
With information on more than 33,000 records, Quakeline is a bibliographic database for materials on earthquakes, earthquake engineering, and natural hazard mitigation. Hosted by the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER) Information Service, the database houses records for journal articles, conference papers, technical reports, maps, and videotapes. The MCEER Information Service actually possesses all of the documents cited in Quakeline. Instructions for ordering documents are included at the site. [KR]
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Three from TIGR
TIGR Tomato Gene Index
TIGR Drosophila Gene Index
TIGR Arabidopsis Gene Index
The Institute for Genomic Resources (TIGR) has recently placed online three data sets: the Tomato Gene Index (version 1.2), the Drosophila Gene Index (version 1.1), and the Arabidopsis Gene Index (version 2.0). All indices are searchable by nucleotide or protein sequence, identifier (TC, ET, EST, GB), tissue, or gene product name. Note that this resource is available free of charge "only to researchers at non-profit institutions using it for non-commercial purposes." [LXP]
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Optimum Thermal Interpolation System (OTIS) Sea Surface Temperatures (SST)
Hosted by the US Navy, the Optimum Thermal Interpolation System (OTIS) uses information from "ships, fixed and drifting buoys, and satellite derived sea surface temperatures, and bathythermograph and buoy subsurface temperatures" to provide near real-time sea surface temperatures. Data maps for sea surface temperature, anomaly, climatology, and Southern and Northern ice concentrations are each represented here. An archive of images dating back to January 1997 allows users to see changes in ocean surface temperatures over time. [KR]
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In The News

Chandra Peers Into Outer Space
1. Chandra peers into the Large Magellanic Cloud
2. Studying the Mysteries of the Titanium Star
3. Chandra X-Ray Observatory Center
4. Chandra Science
5. X-Ray Astronomy at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)
6. Current Research Activities in X-Ray Astronomy
7. The High Resolution Camera (HRC) on the Chandra X-ray Observatory (CXO)
8. Chandra Quick Facts
9. Chandra X-Ray Observatory News
NASA's newest space telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, was launched into orbit only two months ago. Named for the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the Chandra Observatory is already providing scientists with the first "X-ray images and spectra of violent, high-temperature events and objects." In addition to their sheer mystique, these color images increase scientists's understanding of the structure and evolution of the universe. Managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory also serves as a unique tool for studying detailed physics "in a unique laboratory -- the universe itself." This week's In The News highlights the Chandra X-Ray Observatory; the nine sites listed above offer background information, commentary, and recent images from outer space.

The first two news resources, from NASA's Space Science News, offer general information and recent images from the High Resolution Camera aboard Chandra. Of special interest is the new image of The Large Magellanic Cloud (1), a companion galaxy to the Milky Way. Also provided are images of Cassiopeia A (2), the remnant of a star that exploded 9,400 years ago. Each site supplies a host of background information on the significance of each image, and the Titanium Star resource includes a summary of the mechanics of taking X-Ray images from outer space. The next site, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (3), is the Chandra X-Ray Observatory's home on the Web, featuring educational information, images of Chandra's launch, and links to scientific resources. For those interested in acquiring scientific data from Chandra, the Chandra Science (4) site is the place to begin. For an overview (or details) of current research related to Chandra, see the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)'s sites (5), (6) on X-Ray Astronomy. Those interested in the High Resolution Camera on board Chandra will appreciate this thorough site (7) from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, offering detailed descriptions of the camera's structure and function. Chandra Quick Facts (8), from the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), gives a brief overview of some of the main facts about Chandra, and Chandra X-Ray Observatory News (9) provides updates and information as new data arrive from space. [LXP]
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The Scout Report for Science & Engineering is published every other Wednesday by the Internet Scout Project, located in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Computer Sciences.

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