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Thread: Gamma ray astronomy

  1. #1 Gamma ray astronomy 
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    Nov 2008
    I've recently been doing some reading of old publications (from the 1970s/early 80s) which describe the construction and missions of some of the first gamma ray telescopes - most predominantly the COS-B satellite in the 1970s. Knowing very little about gamma ray telescopes I was hoping to attain some information about their stucture/equipment (and the general objectives of discovery from missions) which hopefully continue to have relevance today. However, on researching more modern gamma ray telescopes and mission objectives I am starting to wonder how dated the information I have learned is today. This has consequently brought about some confusion. If anyone here knows anything about gamma ray telescopes/astronomy I would be incredibly grateful if you could answer these few questions:

    Do modern gamma ray telescopes use spark chambers or drift chambers or something else? I also read an article from the early 80s about the innovation of the coded-mask system (where a binary mask with an arrangement of squares is situated above a position-sensitive detector plane which records the position of a gamma ray when it it hits the binary mask above and casts a shadow). Did this ever materialise? Was it used in gamma ray telescopes? Is it actually used today in replacement of older equipment?
    What is currently used today to determine position of a gamma ray source?

    Back at the time of these publications it was thought that there was a high concentration of gamma ray emissions coming from within the Milky Way at around 40 degrees from the centre. This was believed to be due to a high number of gas clouds in that region. Was this ever proved? I wonder this because all new publications only talk of emissions coming from beyond our galaxy. Do many gamma ray sources exist within the Milky Way?

    Gamma ray astonomy was also conducted in attempt to attain an explanation about the reason for the halo surrounding our galaxy. Did anything ever come of this/was there any evidence found that links the halo to gamma rays?

    Finally, I am wondering about the cost of gamma ray telescopes/astronomy. Is this form of astronomy more expensive to conduct than other types?

    Thank you very much, I appreciate any help you can give me.

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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
    This recent (2008) review paper on cosmic gamma rays should answer some of your questions.
    This one on coded aperture imaging should address some of your questions on X-ray telescopes, if you have access to Space Science Reviews.

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