2,286 research outputs found

    An orientable, stabilized balloon-borne gondola for around-the-world flights

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    A system capable of pointing a balloon-borne telescope at selected celestial objects to an accuracy of approximately 10 arc minutes for an extended period (weeks to months) without reliance on telemetry is described. A unique combination of a sun/star tracker, an on-board computer, and a gyrocompass is utilized for navigation, source acquisition and tracking, and data compression and recording. The possibilities for intelligent activities by the computer are also discussed

    A mercuric detector system for X-ray astronomy. 2. Results from flight tests of a balloon borne instrument

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    To establish the expected sensitivity of a new hard X-ray telescope design, an experiment was conducted to measure the background counting rate at balloon altitudes (40 km) of mercuric iodide, a room temperature solid state X-ray detector. The prototype detector consisted of two thin mercuric iodide (HgI2) detectors surrounded by a large bismuth germanate (Bi4Ge3O12) scintillator operated in anticoincidence. The bismuth germanate shield vetoed most of the background counting rate induced by atmospheric gamma-rays, neutrons and cosmic rays. A balloon-borne gondola containing a prototype detector assembly was designed, constructed and flown twice in the spring of 1982 from Palestine, Texas. The second flight of this instrument established a differential background counting rate of 4.2 O.7 x 10-5 counts/sec cm keV over the energy range of 40 to 80 keV. This measurement was within 50% of the predicted value. The measured rate is approx 5 times lower than previously achieved in shielded NaI/CsI or Ge systems operating in the same energy range. The prediction was based on a Monte Carlo simulation of the detector assembly in the radiation environment at float altitude

    Rapid fluctuations in the high-energy X-ray flux from a source in Crux

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    Balloonborne X ray telescopic observations of two point sources in Cru

    Report of the x ray and gamma ray sensors panel

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    Overall five major areas of technology are recommended for development in order to meet the science requirements of the Astrotech 21 mission set. These are: detectors for high resolution gamma ray spectroscopy, cryogenic detectors for improved x ray spectral and spatial resolution, advanced x ray charge coupled devices (CCDs) for higher energy resolution and larger format, extension to higher energies, liquid and solid position sensitive detectors for improving stopping power in the energy range 5 to 500 keV and 0.2 to 2 MeV. Development plans designed to achieve the desired capabilities on the time scales required by the technology freeze dates have been recommended in each of these areas

    Previously Claimed(/Unclaimed) X-ray Emission Lines in High Resolution Afterglow Spectra

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    We review the significance determination for emission lines in the Chandra HETGS spectrum for GRB020813, and we report on a search for additional lines in high resolution Chandra spectra. No previously unclaimed features are found. We also discuss the significance of lines sets reportedly discovered using XMM data for GRB011211 and GRB030227. We find that these features are likely of modest, though not negligible, significance.Comment: 4 pages, 1 figures, to appear in Santa Fe GRB Conference Proceedings, 200

    Earliest detection of the optical afterglow of GRB 030329 and its variability

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    We report the earliest detection of an extremely bright optical afterglow of the gamma-ray burst (GRB) 030329 using a 30cm-telescope at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo, JAPAN). Our observation started 67 minutes after the burst, and continued for succeeding two nights until the afterglow faded below the sensitivity limit of the telescope (approximately 18 mag). Combining our data with those reported in GCN Circulars, we find that the early afterglow light curve of the first half day is described by a broken power-law (t^{- alpha}) function with indices alpha_{1} = 0.88 +/- 0.01 (0.047 < t < t_{b1} days), alpha_{2} = 1.18 +/- 0.01 (t_{b1} < t < t_{b2} days), and alpha_{3} = 1.81 +/- 0.04 (t_{b2} < t < 1.2 days), where t_{b1} ~ 0.26 days and t_{b2} ~ 0.54 days, respectively. The change of the power-law index at the first break at t ~ 0.26 days is consistent with that expected from a ``cooling-break'' when the cooling frequency crossed the optical band. If the interpretation is correct, the decay index before the cooling-break implies a uniform ISM environment.Comment: 13 pages, 1 table and 2 figures. Accepted to the Astrophysical Journal Letter

    Chandra Observations of the Optically Dark GRB030528

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    The X-ray-rich GRB030528 was detected by the HETE satellite and its localization was rapidly disseminated. However, early optical observations failed to detect a counterpart source. In a 2-epoch ToO observation with Chandra, we discovered a fading X-ray source likely counterpart to GRB030528. The source brightness was typical of X-ray afterglows observed at similar epochs. Other observers detected an IR source at a location consistent with the X-ray source. The X-ray spectrum is not consistent with a large absorbing column.Comment: 4 pages, 1 figures, to appear in Santa Fe GRB Conference Proceedings, 200

    Optical and X-ray Observations of the Afterglow to XRF030723

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    The X-ray-flash XRF030723 was detected by the HETE satellite and rapidly disseminated, allowing for an optical transient to be detected ~1 day after the burst. We discuss observations in the optical with Magellan, which confirmed the fade of the optical transient. In a 2-epoch ToO observation with Chandra, we discovered a fading X-ray source spatially coincident with the optical transient. We present spectral fits to the X-ray data. We also discuss the possibility that the source underwent a rebrightening in the X-rays, as was observed in the optical. We find that the significance of a possible rebrightening is very low (~1 sigma).Comment: 4 pages, 2 figures, to appear in Santa Fe GRB Conference Proceedings, 200

    Precision Near Infrared Photometry For Exoplanet Transit Observations - I : Ensemble Spot Photometry for An All-Sky Survey

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    Near-IR observations are important for the detection and characterization of exoplanets using the transit technique, either in surveys of large numbers of stars or for follow-up spectroscopic observations of individual planets. In a controlled laboratory experiment, we imaged ∌104\sim 10^4 critically sampled spots onto an Teledyne Hawaii-2RG (H2RG) detector to emulate an idealized star-field. We obtained time-series photometry of up to ≃24\simeq 24 hr duration for ensembles of ∌103\sim 10^3 pseudo-stars. After rejecting correlated temporal noise caused by various disturbances, we measured a photometric performance of <<50 ppm-hr−1/2^{-1/2} limited only by the incident photon rate. After several hours we achieve a photon-noise limited precision level of 10∌2010\sim20 ppm after averaging many independent measurements. We conclude that IR detectors such as the H2RG can make the precision measurements needed to detect the transits of terrestrial planets or detect faint atomic or molecular spectral features in the atmospheres of transiting extrasolar planets.Comment: 15 pages, 15 figures. Accepted to PASP. For a brief video explaining the key result of this paper, see http://www.youtube.com/user/OSUAstronom

    Observation and implications of the Epeak - Eiso correlation in Gamma-Ray Bursts

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    The availability of a few dozen GRB redshifts now allows studies of the intrinsic properties of these high energy transients. Amati et al. recently discovered a correlation between Epeak, the intrinsic peak energy of the ΜfΜ\nu f \nu spectrum, and Eiso, the isotropic equivalent energy radiated by the source. Lamb et al. have shown that HETE-2 data confirm and extend this correlation. We discuss here one of the consequences of this correlation: the existence of a 'spectral standard candle', which can be used to construct a simple redshift indicator for GRBs.Comment: Proceedings of the GRB 2003 Conference in SantaFe, 5 pages, 4 figure
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