Extreme Ultraviolet explorer mission science center closes
Mission proposer honored for pioneering work

By Diane Ainsworth, Public Affairs

07 February 2001 | Berkeley's Center for Extreme Ultraviolet Astrophysics - home to science data from NASA's now defunct Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer - closed its doors Jan. 31, but not without proper recognition for physicist Stuart Bowyer, a professor emeritus and proposer of the mission.

Bowyer received the Royal Society of London's Massey Award for his outstanding contributions to the field of extreme ultraviolet astronomy.

Accepting the award at a recent ceremony on the Berkeley campus, Boyer was cited for his pioneering role in the mission, which was the first to survey the universe in ultraviolet light. He received a gold medal and a prize of 500 guineas ($800) by Gerhard Haerendel, president of the international Committee on Space Research, which has now honored six leaders in space science with the award. The Massey Award is named for Sir Harrie Massey, past physical secretary of the Royal Society and a past committee member.

"Stuart was able to turn the scientific community around and convince them that an orbiting extreme ultraviolet spectrometer could be used as a deep survey instrument to detect these very distant objects," Haerendel said. "His ingenious work at Berkeley, along with many others, represented the culmination of nearly 30 years of research and student training at the university to create the field of extreme ultraviolet astronomy."

The extreme ultraviolet was the last of the spectral windows to be opened by astronomers. Launched June 7, 1992, the 7,000-pound spacecraft was able to observe objects tens of thousands to millions of degrees hotter than the Sun that had never been seen before at other wavelengths. In more than eight years - nearly triple the spacecraft's expected lifetime - the Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer observed more than 1,000 sources inside and outside of the Milky Way galaxy and helped scientists to study many violent explosions, hot white dwarf stars, star factories and evolving star systems that are obscured by clouds of dust and gas in between stars.

Science data were acquired at Berkeley's Ultraviolet Astrophysics Science Operations Center, located on Kittredge Street, throughout the primary mission. In March 1997, a year after the spacecraft's primary mission had been completed, the Berkeley facility assumed command of the spacecraft and all instrument operations.


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