GammaRayBurstsforclass

GammaRayBurstsforclass - Gamma Ray Bursts What are They...

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Gamma Ray Bursts -- What are They & What Makes Them? (Mystery #5) Astr 2340 Spring 2010 R. Chandar -- “The Biggest Bang since the Big one” -- “Gamma ray bursts are the most powerful cosmic explosions ever witnessed by humans. The mystery is that we don’t know what’s exploding” (Bennett).
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Review Questions: Review Questions: 1. What is a cosmic ray? What is a gamma ray? 2. What is more common - high E or low E cosmic rays? Where do we think the majority of low E cosmic rays come from? 3. What is a cosmic ray “shower” and generally how does one work? 4. What is Cherenkov radiation?
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Air showers of secondary CRs
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The first Gamma-ray Burst Discovered in 1967 while looking for nuclear test explosions - a 30+ year old mystery! Vela satellite
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History of the discovery of Gamma Ray Burst sources: ______________________________________________ 1960 US launched VELA satellites to monitor Nuclear Test Ban Treaty signed with the Soviet Union VELA satellites were equipped with gamma ray detectors, designed to detect gamma ray bursts produced in thermonuclear explosions. Surprise!!! Many gamma ray burst were detected, but signals came from space, not from the Earth surface or atmosphere. For ~ 30 years, the origin of the cosmic gamma ray bursts was a mystery. Late 1990’s: Mystery is solved (we think)
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Gamma Rays are photons of the highest energy found in the electromagnetic spectrum. They are emitted from extremely hot environments, e.g. in nuclear explosions.
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Today we have satellites specifically designed to detect gamma ray bursts. Note, gamma rays are unable to penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere and must therefore be observed from space.
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The Earth atmosphere has only two “windows” for electromagnetic radiation: 1. Visible 2. Radio All other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum need to be observed from high-flying airplanes, balloons, and satellites in Earth orbit.
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Distributions If sources are located randomly in space, the distribution is called isotropic If the sources are concentrated in a certain region or along the galactic plane, the distribution is anisotropic
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