The type Ia supernova SN1998bu in M96 was observed by COMPTEL for a total of 88 days starting 17 days after the first detection of the supernova. The accumulated effective observation time was 4.14 Msec. The COMPTEL observations were performed in a special instrument mode improving the low-energy sensitivity. We generated images in the 847 keV and 1238 keV lines of 56Co, using improved point spread functions for the low-energy mode. We do not detect SN1998bu. A spectral analysis of our data also confirms the non-detection of the supernova. We discuss the event for which our upper limits constrain the standard supernova models.
We present the latest update of the 1.809 MeV sky survey obtained with COMPTEL. Based on all observations taken since the launch of CGRO in spring 1991 to early summer this year we obtain 1.809 MeV all sky maps using different imaging methods. The background is modelled on the basis of an adjacent energy approach. We confirm the previously reported characteristics of the galactic 1.809 MeV emission, specifically excesses in regions away from the inner Galaxy. The observed 1.8 MeV gamma-ray line is ascribed to the radioactive decay of 26Al in the interstellar medium. 26Al has been found to be predominantly synthesised in massive stars and their subsequent core-collapse supernovae, which is confirmed in tracer comparisons. Due to this, one anticipates flux enhancements aligned with regions of recent star formation, such as apparently observed in the Cygnus and Vela regions.
We have analyzed the two blazars of 3C 454.3 and CTA 102 using all available COMPTEL data from 1991 to 1999. In the 10-30 MeV band, emission from the general direction of the sources is found at the 4\$\sigma\$-level, being consistent with contributions from both sources. Below 10 MeV only 3C 454.3 is significantly detected, with the strongest evidence (5.6 \$\sigma\$) in the 3-10 MeV band. Significant flux variability is not observed for both sources, while a low emission is seen most of the years in the 3-10 MeV light curve for 3C 454.3. Its time-averaged MeV spectrum suggests a power maximum between 3 to 10 MeV.
The development of CdZnTe detectors with an orthogpnal coplanar anode structure has important implications for future astrophysical instrumentation. As electron-only devices, like pixel detectors, coplanar anode strip detectors can be fabricated in the thickness required to be effective for photons with energies in excess of 500 keV. Unlike conventional double-sided strip detectors, the coplanar anode strip detectors require segmented contacts and signal processing electronics on only one surface. This facilitates the fabrication of closely-packed large area arrays that will be required for the next generation of coded aperture imagers. These detectors provide both very good energy resolution and sub-millimeter spatial resolution (in all three spatial dimensions) with far fewer electronic channels than are required for pixel detectors. Here we summarize results obtained from prototype detectors having a thickness of 5 mm and outline a concept for large area applications.
We have used observations from CGRO to study the variation in the MeV emission of Cygnus X-1 between its low and high X-ray states. These data provide a measurement of the spectral variability above 1 MeV. The high state MeV spectrum is found to be much harder than that of the low state MeV spectrum. In particular, the power-law emission seen at hard X-ray energies in the high state spectrum (with a photon spectral index of 2.6) is found to extend out to at least 5 MeV, with no evidence for any cutoff. Here we present the data and describe our efforts to model both the low state and high state spectra using a hybrid thermal/nonthermal model in which the emission results from the Comptonization of an electron population that consists of both a thermal and nonthermal component.
The Advanced Compton Telescope (ACT), the next major step in gamma-ray astronomy, will probe the fires where chemical elements are formed by enabling high-resolution spectroscopy of nuclear emission from supernova explosions. During the past two years, our collaboration has been undertaking a NASA mission concept study for ACT. This study was designed to (1) transform the key scientific objectives into specific instrument requirements, (2) to identify the most promising technologies to meet those requirements, and (3) to design a viable mission concept for this instrument. We present the results of this study, including scientific goals and expected performance, mission design, and technology recommendations.
The primary scientific mission of the Black Hole Finder Probe (BHFP), part of the NASA Beyond Einstein program, is to survey the local Universe for black holes over a wide range of mass and accretion rate. One approach to such a survey is a hard X-ray coded-aperture imaging mission operating in the 10–600 keV energy band, a spectral range that is considered to be especially useful in the detection of black hole sources. The development of new inorganic scintillator materials provides improved performance (for example, with regards to energy resolution and timing) that is well suited to the BHFP science requirements. Detection planes formed with these materials coupled with a new generation of readout devices represent a major advancement in the performance capabilities of scintillator-based gamma cameras. Here, we discuss the Coded Aperture Survey Telescope for Energetic Radiation (CASTER), a concept that represents a BHFP based on the use of the latest scintillator technology.
This paper discusses the latest progress in the development of GRAPE (Gamma-Ray Polarimeter Experiment), a hard X-ray Compton Polarimeter. The purpose of GRAPE is to measure the polarization of hard X-rays in the 50-300 keV energy range. We are particularly interested in X-rays that are emitted from solar flares and gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). Accurately measuring the polarization of the emitted radiation from these sources will lead, to a better understating of both the emission mechanisms and source geometries. The GRAPE design consists of an array of plastic scintillators surrounding a central high-Z crystal scintillator. We can monitor individual Compton scatters that occur in the plastics and determine whether the photon is photo absorbed by the high-Z crystal or not. A Compton scattered photon that is immediately photo absorbed by the high-Z crystal constitutes a valid event. These valid events provide us with the interaction locations of each incident photon and ultimately produces a modulation pattern for the Compton scattering of the polarized radiation. Comparing with Monte Carlo simulations of a 100% polarized beam, the level of polarization of the measured beam can then be determined. The complete array is mounted on a flat-panel multi-anode photomultiplier tube (MAPMT) that can measure the deposited energies resulting from the photon interactions. The design of the detector allows for a large field-of-view (>pi steradian), at the same time offering the ability to be close-packed with multiple modules in order to reduce deadspace. We plan to present in this paper the latest laboratory results obtained from GRAPE using partially polarized radiation sources.
POET (Polarimeters for Energetic Transients) is a Small Explorer mission concept proposed to NASA in January 2008. The principal scientific goal of POET is to measure GRB polarization between 2 and 500 keV. The payload consists of two wide FoV instruments: a Low Energy Polarimeter (LEP) capable of polarization measurements in the energy range from 2-15 keV and a high energy polarimeter (Gamma-Ray Polarimeter Experiment – GRAPE) that will measure polarization in the 60-500 keV energy range. Spectra will be measured from 2 keV up to 1 MeV. The POET spacecraft provides a zenith-pointed platform for maximizing the exposure to deep space. Spacecraft rotation will provide a means of effectively dealing with systematics in the polarization response. POET will provide sufficient sensitivity and sky coverage to measure statistically significant polarization for up to 100 GRBs in a two-year mission. Polarization data will also be obtained for solar flares, pulsars and other sources of astronomical interest.
Gamma-ray astronomy presents an extraordinary scientific potential for the study of the most powerful sources and the most violent events in the Universe. In order to take full advantage of this potential, the next generation of instrumentation for this domain will have to achieve an improvement in sensitivity over present technologies of at least an order of magnitude. The DUAL mission concept takes up this challenge in two complementary ways: a very long observation of the entire sky, combined with a large collection area for simultaneous observations of Type Ia SNe. While the Wide-Field Compton Telescope (WCT) accumulates data from the full gamma-ray sky (0.1-10 MeV) over the entire mission lifetime, the Laue-Lens Telescope (LLT) focuses on 56Co emission from SNe Ia (0.8-0.9 MeV), collecting gamma-rays from its large area crystal lens onto the WCT. Two separated spacecraft flying in formation will maintain the DUAL payloads at the lens' focal distance.
Major solar eruptive events (SEEs), consisting of both a large flare and a near simultaneous large fast coronal mass ejection (CME), are the most powerful explosions and also the most powerful and energetic particle accelerators in the solar system, producing solar energetic particles (SEPs) up to tens of GeV for ions and hundreds of MeV for electrons. The intense fluxes of escaping SEPs are a major hazard for humans in space and for spacecraft. Furthermore, the solar plasma ejected at high speed in the fast CME completely restructures the interplanetary medium (IPM) - major SEEs therefore produce the most extreme space weather in geospace, the interplanetary medium, and at other planets. Thus, understanding the flare/CME energy release process(es) and the related particle acceleration processes are major goals in Heliophysics. To make the next major breakthroughs, we propose a new mission concept, SEE 2020, a single spacecraft with a complement of advanced new instruments that focus directly on the coronal energy release and particle acceleration sites, and provide the detailed diagnostics of the magnetic fields, plasmas, mass motions, and energetic particles required to understand the fundamental physical processes involved.
Explorers have made breakthroughs in many fields of astrophysics. The science from both these missions contributed to three Nobel Prizes - Giacconi (2002), Mather, and Smoot (2006). Explorers have: marked the definitive beginning of precision cosmology, discovered that short gamma-ray bursts are caused by compact star mergers and have measured metalicity to redshifts z>6. NASA Explorers do cutting-edge science that cannot be done by facility-class instruments. The Explorer program provides a rapid response to changing science and technology, to enable cutting-edge science at moderate cost. Explorers also enable innovation, and engage & train scientists, managers and engineers, adding human capital to NASA and the nation. The astrophysics Explorer launch rate now being achieved is 1 per 3 years, and budget projections are in the \$150M/year range for the next five years. A newly Vigorous Explorer Program should be created to: 1. Reach the long-stated goal of annual astrophysics launches; 2. Find additional launch options for Explorers and actively encourage cost savings in launchers and spacecraft, such as new commercial vehicles and innovative partnerships. 3. Mitigate risk via stronger technical development and sub-orbital programs, and through longer, more thorough, Phase A programs, potentially reducing the need for a 30% contingency; 4. Strive to protect the funding for missions that have reached Phase B, to prevent significant launch slips and cancellations, with a goal of 4 to 5 years from Phase B to launch; 5. Review the project management procedures and requirements to seek cost reductions, including the risk management strategy and the review and reporting process; 6. Review and possibly modify the cost caps for all Explorer classes to optimize scientific returns per dollar. [ABRIDGED]
McConnell ML, Baring MG, Bloser PF, Briggs MS, Connaughton V, Dwyer J, Gaskin J, Grove JE, Gunji S, Hartmann D, et al.LEAP - A Large Area GRB Polarimeter for the ISS, in AAS/High Energy Astrophysics Division. Vol 16. ; 2017 :103.20–103.20.