G. A. Kriss

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, United States

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Publications (328)788.69 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We present in this paper the results of a 270 ks Chandra HETGS observation in the context of a large multiwavelength campaign on the Seyfert galaxy Mrk 509. The HETGS spectrum allows us to study the high ionisation warm absorber and the Fe-K complex in Mrk 509. We search for variability in the spectral properties of the source with respect to previous observations in this campaign, as well as for evidence of ultra-fast outflow signatures. The Chandra HETGS X-ray spectrum of Mrk 509 was analysed using the SPEX fitting package. We confirm the basic structure of the warm absorber found in the 600 ks XMM-Newton RGS observation observed three years earlier, consisting of five distinct ionisation components in a multikinematic regime. We find little or no variability in the physical properties of the different warm absorber phases with respect to previous observations in this campaign, except for component D2 which has a higher column density at the expense of component C2 at the same outflow velocity (-240 km/s). Contrary to prior reports we find no -700 km/s outflow component. The O VIII absorption line profiles show an average covering factor of 0.81 +/- 0.08 for outflow velocities faster than -100 km/s, similar to those measured in the UV. This supports the idea of a patchy wind. The relative metal abundances in the outflow are close to proto-solar. The narrow component of the Fe Kalpha emission line shows no changes with respect to previous observations which confirms its origin in distant matter. The narrow line has a red wing that can be interpreted to be a weak relativistic emission line. We find no significant evidence of ultra-fast outflows in our new spectrum down to the sensitivity limit of our data.
    09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Supermassive black holes in the nuclei of active galaxies expel large amounts of matter through powerful winds of ionized gas. The archetypal active galaxy NGC 5548 has been studied for decades, and high-resolution X-ray and UV observations have previously shown a persistent ionized outflow. An observing campaign in 2013 with six space observatories shows the nucleus to be obscured by a long-lasting, clumpy stream of ionized gas never seen before. It blocks 90% of the soft X-ray emission and causes simultaneous deep, broad UV absorption troughs. The outflow velocities of this gas are up to five times faster than those in the persistent outflow, and at a distance of only a few light days from the nucleus, it may likely originate from the accretion disk.
    Science (New York, N.Y.). 06/2014; 345(6192).
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    ABSTRACT: Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) are the most luminous persistent objects in the universe. An excess of X-ray emission below about 2 keV, called soft-excess, is very common in Type 1 AGN spectra. The origin of this feature remains debated. Originally modeled with a blackbody, there are now several possibilities to model the soft-excess, including warm Comptonization and blurred ionized reflection. In this paper, we test ionized-reflection models on Mrk 509, a bright Seyfert 1 galaxy for which we have a unique data set, in order to determine whether it can be responsible for the strong soft-excess. We use ten simultaneous XMM-Newton and INTEGRAL observations performed every four days. We present here the results of the spectral analysis, the evolution of the parameters and the variability properties of the X-ray emission. The application of blurred ionized-reflection models leads to a very strong reflection and an extreme geometry, but fails to reproduce the broad-band spectrum of Mrk 509. Two different scenarios for blurred ionized reflection are discussed: stable geometry and lamp-post configuration. In both cases we find that the model parameters do not follow the expected relations, indicating that the model is fine-tuned to fit the data without physical justification. A large, slow variation of the soft-excess without counterpart in the hard X-rays could be explained by a change in ionization of the reflector. However, such a change does not naturally follow from the assumed geometrical configuration. Warm Comptonization remains the most probable origin of the soft-excess in this object. Nevertheless, it is possible that both ionized reflection and warm Comptonization mechanisms can explain the soft-excess in all objects, one dominating the other one, depending on the physical conditions of the disk and the corona.
    04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Spectroscopic observations of quasar outflows at rest-frame 500Å-1000Å have immense diagnostic power. Wavelength coverage of this range includes absorption troughs from OIV and OIV*, which allow us to measure the hydrogen number density through collisional excitation modeling, leading to a measurement of the outflow's distance from the central source. In the object we present, FBQS J0209-0438, such absorption troughs separate into five kinematic components, allowing for velocity-dependent photoionization modeling, and a determination of the distance-velocity relation. Through this relation, our analysis shows that the outflow from FBQS J0209-0438 has a lesser outward radial velocity at larger distances than it exhibits closer to the AGN (i.e. it is decelerating either as an outflow or infall). Absorption troughs from very highly ionized species such as NeVIII, ArVIII and MgX also appear in this spectral range and confirm the presence of two ionization phases, where the high ionization phase carries the bulk of the material. This is similar to the situation seen in x-ray warm absorber studies. These two results create a detailed schematic of the structure of this typical AGN outflow.
    01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The Far Ultraviolet (FUV) detector of the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) uses a large-format, two-segment microchannel plate detector with a Cross Delay-Line anode. Since the installation of COS into HST in 2009, the detector's properties have continually evolved, and changes to both sensitivity and microchannel plate gain have been observed. In order to maximize the lifetime of the detector, we have been monitoring its local properties as a function of time, cumulative exposure, and other factors, and we have constructed models to predict its future evolution. These models will allow us to actively manage the microchannel plate high voltage levels and the location of the spectra on the detector in order to extend its life without limiting its scientific use. We are also tracking the global sensitivity of the detector, which has been decreasing since installation; the rate of degradation has been found to vary with time, and appears to be correlated with solar activity.
    Proc SPIE 09/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We present the results of a recent (March 2011) 160 ks Chandra-LETGS observation of the Seyfert galaxy NGC 4593, and the analysis of archival X-ray and UV spectra taken with XMM-Newton and HST/STIS in 2002. We find evidence of a multi-component warm absorber (WA) in the X-rays with four distinct ionisation degrees (log xi = 1.0, log xi = 1.7, log xi = 2.4, and log xi = 3.0) outflowing at several hundreds of km/s. In the UV we detect 15 kinematic components in the absorbers, blueshifted with respect to the systemic velocity of the source, ranging from -60 km/s to -1520 km/s. Although the predicted CIV and NV column densities from the low-ionisation X-ray outflow are in agreement with those measured for some components in the STIS spectrum, there are kinematic discrepancies that may prevent both the X-ray and UV absorbers from originating in the same intervening gas. We derive upper limits on the location of the absorbers finding that the high-ionisation gas lie within ~6 - 29 pc from the central ionising source, while the low-ionisation gas is located at several hundreds of pc. This is consistent with our line of sight passing through different parts of a stratified wind. The total kinetic energy of the outflows injected into the surroundings of the host galaxy only accounts for a tiny fraction of the bolometric luminosity of the source, and it is therefore unlikely that they may cause a significant impact in the interstellar medium of NGC 4593 in a given single episode of activity.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 08/2013; 435(4). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) was installed on the Hubble Space Telescope in May 2009. Although COS was initially designed to perform high-sensitivity medium- and low-resolution spectroscopy of astronomical objects in the 1150-3200 Å wavelength range, new wavelength settings have recently become available that allow medium-resolution spectroscopy down to 900 Å, at effective areas comparable to those of FUSE. Here we provide an update on the implementation of the new short wavelength settings G130M/1222, 1096, and 1055. We discuss changes to the Far-Ultraviolet (FUV) and Near-Ultraviolet (NUV) dark rates, FUV pulse height filtering, new and improved flux calibrations for FUV Lifetime Positions 1 and 2, changes in sensitivity for both the NUV and FUV channels, and give a general overview of the calibration projects undertaken in Cycles 19 and 20.
    06/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We present the discovery of an outflowing ionized wind in the Seyfert 1 Galaxy Mrk 335. Despite having been extensively observed by most of the largest X-ray observatories in the last decade, this bright source was not known to host warm absorber gas until recent XMM-Newton observations in combination with a long-term Swift monitoring program have shown extreme flux and spectral variability. High resolution spectra obtained by the XMM-Newton RGS detector reveal that the wind consists of three distinct ionization components, all outflowing at a velocity of 5000 km/s. This wind is clearly revealed when the source is observed at an intermediate flux state (2-5e-12 ergs cm^-2 s^-1). The analysis of multi-epoch RGS spectra allowed us to compare the absorber properties at three very different flux states of the source. No correlation between the warm absorber variability and the X-ray flux has been determined. The two higher ionization components of the gas may be consistent with photoionization equilibrium, but we can exclude this for the only ionization component that is consistently present in all flux states (log(xi)~1.8). We have included archival, non-simultaneous UV data from HST (FOS, STIS, COS) with the aim of searching for any signature of absorption in this source that so far was known for being absorption-free in the UV band. In the COS spectra obtained a few months after the X-ray observations we found broad absorption in CIV lines intrinsic to the AGN and blueshifted by a velocity roughly comparable to the X-ray outflow. The global behavior of the gas in both bands can be explained by variation of the covering factor and/or column density, possibly due to transverse motion of absorbing clouds moving out of the line of sight at Broad Line Region scale.
    The Astrophysical Journal 01/2013; 766(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present results from a coordinated IR-to-X-ray spectral campaign of the QSO IRAS 13349+2438. Optical spectra reveal extreme Eigenvector-1 characteristics, but the H-beta line width argues against a NLS1 classification; we refine z=0.10853 based on [O III]. We estimate a BH mass=10^9 Msun using 2 independent methods (H-beta line width & SED fits). Blue-shifted absorption (-950km/s & -75km/s) is seen for the 1st time in STIS UV spectra from Ly-alpha, NV, & CIV. The higher velocity UV lines are coincident with the lower-ionisation (xi~1.6) X-ray warm absorber lines. A dusty multiple ionization absorber blueshifted by 700-900km/s is required to fit the X-ray data. Theoretical models comparing different ionising SEDs reveal that a UV-inclusive (i.e., the accretion disc) ionising continuum strongly impacts conclusions for the thermodynamic stability of the warm absorber. Specific to IRAS13349, an Xray-UV ionising SED favors a continuous distribution of ionisation states in a smooth flow (this paper), versus discrete clouds in pressure equilibrium (work by others where UV is omitted). Direct dust detections are seen in both the IR: PAH emission at (7.7 & 11.3)micron which may also be blended with forsterite, and (10 & 18)micron silicate emission, and X-rays: iron dust with a dust-to-gas ratio > 90%. We develop a geometrical model whereby the QSO nuclear region is viewed through the upper atmosphere of an obscuring torus. This sight line is obscured by dust that blocks a direct view of the UV/optical emission region but is largely transparent in X-rays since the gas is ionised. In our model, 20% of the intrinsic UV/optical continuum is scattered into our sight line by the far wall of an obscuring torus. An additional 2.4% of the direct light, which likely dominates the UV emission, is Thomson-scattered into our line-of-sight by another off-plane component of highly ionized gas.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 01/2013; 430(4). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We describe the planning, implementation, and initial results of the first planned move of the default position of spectra on the Hubble Space Telescope's Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) Far Ultraviolet (FUV) cross-delay line detector. This was motivated by the limited amount of charge that can be extracted from the microchannel plate due to gain sag at any one position. Operations at a new location began on July 23, 2012, with a shift of the spectrum by +3.5"(corresponding to ~ 41 pixels or ~ 1 mm) in a direction orthogonal to the spectral dispersion. Operation at this second "lifetime position" allows for spectra to be collected which are not affected by detector artifacts and loss of sensitivity due to gain sag. We discuss programs designed to enable operations at the new lifetime position; these include determinations of operational high voltage, measuring walk corrections and focus, confirming spectrum placement and aperture centering, and target acquisition performance. We also present results related to calibration of the new lifetime position, including measurements of spectral resolution and wavelength calibration, flux and flat field calibration, carryover of time-dependent sensitivity monitoring, and operations with the Bright Object Aperture (BOA).
    01/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: (Abridged) The simultaneous UV to X-rays/gamma rays data obtained during the multi-wavelength XMM/INTEGRAL campaign on the Seyfert 1 Mrk 509 are used in this paper and tested against physically motivated broad band models. Each observation has been fitted with a realistic thermal comptonisation model for the continuum emission. Prompted by the correlation between the UV and soft X-ray flux, we use a thermal comptonisation component for the soft X-ray excess. The UV to X-rays/gamma-rays emission of Mrk 509 can be well fitted by these components. The presence of a relatively hard high-energy spectrum points to the existence of a hot (kT~100 keV), optically-thin (tau~0.5) corona producing the primary continuum. On the contrary, the soft X-ray component requires a warm (kT~1 keV), optically-thick (tau~15) plasma. Estimates of the amplification ratio for this warm plasma support a configuration close to the "theoretical" configuration of a slab corona above a passive disk. An interesting consequence is the weak luminosity-dependence of its emission, a possible explanation of the roughly constant spectral shape of the soft X-ray excess seen in AGNs. The temperature (~ 3 eV) and flux of the soft-photon field entering and cooling the warm plasma suggests that it covers the accretion disk down to a transition radius $R_{tr}$ of 10-20 $R_g$. This plasma could be the warm upper layer of the accretion disk. On the contrary the hot corona has a more photon-starved geometry. The high temperature ($\sim$ 100 eV) of the soft-photon field entering and cooling it favors a localization of the hot corona in the inner flow. This soft-photon field could be part of the comptonised emission produced by the warm plasma. In this framework, the change in the geometry (i.e. $R_{tr}$) could explain most of the observed flux and spectral variability.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 09/2012; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is unique and groundbreaking science to be done with a new generation of UV spectrographs that cover wavelengths in the "Lyman Ultraviolet" (LUV; 912 - 1216 Ang). There is no astrophysical basis for truncating spectroscopic wavelength coverage anywhere between the atmospheric cutoff (3100 Ang) and the Lyman limit (912 Ang); the usual reasons this happens are all technical. The unique science available in the LUV includes critical problems in astrophysics ranging from the habitability of exoplanets to the reionization of the IGM. Crucially, the local Universe (z <= 0.1) is entirely closed to many key physical diagnostics without access to the LUV. These compelling scientific problems require overcoming these technical barriers so that future UV spectrographs can extend coverage to the Lyman limit at 912 Ang.
    09/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: The timing and duration of the reionization epoch is crucial to the emergence and evolution of structure in the universe. The relative roles that star-forming galaxies, active galactic nuclei and quasars play in contributing to the metagalactic ionizing background across cosmic time remains uncertain. Deep quasar counts provide insights into their role, but the potentially crucial contribution from star-formation is highly uncertain due to our poor understanding of the processes that allow ionizing radiation to escape into the intergalactic medium (IGM). The fraction of ionizing photons that escape from star-forming galaxies is a fundamental free parameter used in models to "fine-tune" the timing and duration of the reionization epoch that occurred somewhere between 13.4 and 12.7 Gyrs ago (redshifts between 12 > z > 6). However, direct observation of Lyman continuum (LyC) photons emitted below the rest frame \ion{H}{1} ionization edge at 912 \AA\ is increasingly improbable at redshifts z > 3, due to the steady increase of intervening Lyman limit systems towards high z. Thus UV and U-band optical bandpasses provide the only hope for direct, up close and in depth, observations of the types of environment that favor LyC escape. By quantifying the evolution over the past 11 billion years (z < 3) of the relationships between LyC escape and local and global parameters ..., we can provide definitive information on the LyC escape fraction that is so crucial to answering the question of, how did the universe come to be ionized? Here we provide estimates of the ionizing continuum flux emitted by "characteristic" (L_{uv}^*) star-forming galaxies as a function of look back time and escape fraction, finding that at z = 1 (7.6 Gyrs ago) L_{uv}^* galaxies with an escape fraction of 1% have a flux of 10^{-19} ergs cm^{-2} s^{-1} \AA^{-1}.
    09/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: Observing programs comprising multiple scientific objectives will enhance the productivity of NASA's next UV/Visible mission. Studying active galactic nuclei (AGN) is intrinsically important for understanding how black holes accrete matter, grow through cosmic time, and influence their host galaxies. At the same time, the bright UV continuum of AGN serves as an ideal background light source for studying foreground gas in the intergalactic medium (IGM), the circumgalactic medium (CGM) of individual galaxies, and the interstellar medium (ISM) and halo of the Milky Way. A well chosen sample of AGN can serve as the observational backbone for multiple spectroscopic investigations including quantitative measurements of outflows from AGN, the structure of their accretion disks, and the mass of the central black hole.
    09/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: The Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) was installed into the Hubble Space Telescope in May 2009, and has been collecting ultraviolet spectra since then. The Far Ultraviolet channel of COS uses an efficient optical design and a two-segment, large-format Cross Delay Line microchannel plate detector to obtain spectra at medium and low resolution in the far ultraviolet. While the overall instrument performance has been excellent, several long-term trends in performance have been noted and are being addressed. These include a slow decrease in overall sensitivity, which is independent of the illumination and may be due to a degradation of the photocathode with time. In addition, the detector microchannel plates are showing severe gain sag in the regions where the most photons have fallen. As a result, we are in the process of moving the spectra to a new, nearly pristine, location on the detector. This will be the first of several additional lifetime positions which will allow us to collect high-quality spectra for many years to come. We will discuss the factors that led to our decision on where to move next and our progress in moving there, including details of the enabling and calibration activities which are being performed at the new location, and the anticipated performance. We will also address strategies that will be implemented in order to prolong the life at this and subsequent positions.
    Proc SPIE 09/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: We discuss some of the highlights of our monitoring campaign on the Seyfert 1 galaxy Mrk 509 that was conducted in 2009. We focus here on the ionization structure of the outflow.
    08/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: We report on a detailed study of the Fe K emission/absorption complex in the nearby, bright Seyfert 1 galaxy Mrk 509. The study is part of an extensive XMM-Newton monitoring consisting of 10 pointings (~60 ks each) about once every four days, and includes also a reanalysis of previous XMM-Newton and Chandra observations. Mrk 509 shows a clear (EW=58 eV) neutral Fe Kalpha emission line that can be decomposed into a narrow (sigma=0.027 keV) component (found in the Chandra HETG data) plus a resolved (sigma=0.22 keV) component. We find the first successful measurement of a linear correlation between the intensity of the resolved line component and the 3-10 keV flux variations on time-scales of years down to a few days. The Fe Kalpha reverberates the hard X-ray continuum without any measurable lag, suggesting that the region producing the resolved Fe Kalpha component is located within a few light days-week (r<~10^3 rg) from the Black Hole (BH). The lack of a redshifted wing in the line poses a lower limit of >40 rg for its distance from the BH. The Fe Kalpha could thus be emitted from the inner regions of the BLR, i.e. within the ~80 light days indicated by the Hbeta line measurements. In addition to these two neutral Fe Kalpha components, we confirm the detection of weak (EW~8-20 eV) ionised Fe K emission. This ionised line can be modeled with either a blend of two narrow FeXXV and FeXXVI emission lines or with a single relativistic line produced, in an ionised disc, down to a few rg from the BH. Finally, we observe a weakening/disappearing of the medium and high velocity high ionisation Fe K wind features found in previous XMM-Newton observations. This campaign has made possible the first reverberation measurement of the resolved component of the Fe Kalpha line, from which we can infer a location for the bulk of its emission at a distance of r~40-1000 rg from the BH.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 07/2012; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Active Galactic Nuclei often show evidence of photoionized outflows. A major uncertainty in models for these outflows is the distance ($R$) to the gas from the central black hole. In this paper we use the HST/COS data from a massive multi-wavelength monitoring campaign on the bright Seyfert I galaxy Mrk 509, in combination with archival HST/STIS data, to constrain the location of the various kinematic components of the outflow. We compare the expected response of the photoionized gas to changes in ionizing flux with the changes measured in the data using the following steps: 1) We compare the column densities of each kinematic component measured in the 2001 STIS data with those measured in the 2009 COS data; 2) We use time-dependent photionization calculations with a set of simulated lightcurves to put statistical upper limits on the hydrogen number density that are consistent with the observed small changes in the ionic column densities; 3) From the upper limit on the number density, we calculate a lower limit on the distance to the absorber from the central source via the prior determination of the ionization parameter. Our method offers two improvements on traditional timescale analysis. First, we account for the physical behavior of AGN lightcurves. Second, our analysis accounts for the quality of measurement in cases where no changes are observed in the absorption troughs. The very small variations in trough ionic column densities (mostly consistent with no change) between the 2001 and 2009 epochs allow us to put statistical lower limits on the distance between 100--200 pc for all the major UV absorption components at a confidence level of 99%. These results are mainly consistent with the independent distance estimates derived for the warm absorbers from the simultaneous X-ray spectra.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 05/2012; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present analysis of the UV-spectrum of the low-z AGN IRAS-F22456-5125 obtained with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph on board the Hubble Space Telescope. The spectrum reveals six main kinematic components, spanning a range of velocities of up to 800 km s-1, which for the first time are observed in troughs associated with CII, CIV, NV, SiII, SiIII, SiIV and SIV. We also obtain data on the OVI troughs, which we compare to those available from an earlier FUSE epoch. Column densities measured from these ions allow us to derive a well-constrained photoionization solution for each outflow component. Two of these kinematic components show troughs associated with transitions from excited states of SiII\ and CII. The number density inferred from these troughs, in combination with the deduced ioinization parameter, allows us to determine the distance to these outflow components from the central source. We find these components to be at a distance of ~ 10 kpc. The distances and the number densities derived are consistent with the outflow being part of a galactic wind.
    The Astrophysical Journal 05/2012; 751(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The far ultraviolet (FUV) channel on the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) suffers localized flux loss due to gain sag from continued exposure to light. Because of the non-uniformity of observed spectra falling on the detector, gain sag holes in extracted spectra first appear in the most illuminated portions of the detector, those affected by bright airglow lines, and will eventually impact large regions of the continuum as well. In order to preserve the data quality and extend the operational lifetime of COS, strategies have been implemented which impact nearly every aspect of COS operations. These include changes to default observing sequences, improved monitoring, new calibration procedures, changes to detector electronics, and a complete relocation of the illuminated portion of the detector.
    05/2012;

Publication Stats

3k Citations
788.69 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1995–2014
    • Johns Hopkins University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
    • RIKEN
      Вако, Saitama, Japan
  • 1995–2012
    • Space Telescope Science Institute
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2006
    • University of Colorado at Boulder
      • Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy
      Boulder, Colorado, United States
  • 1999–2006
    • University of Chicago
      • Department of Physics
      Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • 2004
    • East Tennessee State University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Johnson City, Tennessee, United States
  • 2001
    • University of Santiago, Chile
      CiudadSantiago, Santiago, Chile
  • 2000
    • University of California, Berkeley
      • Space Sciences Laboratory
      Berkeley, California, United States
    • University of Maryland, Baltimore County
      • Department of Physics
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 1997
    • University of Colorado
      Denver, Colorado, United States
  • 1994
    • Tel Aviv University
      Tell Afif, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • 1990
    • NASA
      Washington, West Virginia, United States
  • 1983
    • Dartmouth College
      Hanover, New Hampshire, United States