On April 5, 1991, the space shuttle Atlantis carried into orbit the largest
scientific payload every delivered via shuttle, the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory
known as CGRO. It was deliberately and safely deorbited at the end of its lifetime
on 4 June 2000.
Click here for the NASA link to the CGROThe Compton mission was highly successful in exploring the high energy universe. The targets of study of the CGRO were highly energetic phenomena such as black holes, supernovae and quasars.
The CGRO consisted of a suite of 4 instruments designed to provide complementary information about cosmic sources observed across a range of energies, from 30,000 to 30 billion electron volts (30 keV to 30 GeV). The four instruments are:
BATSE: the Burst and Transient Source Experiment. BATSE continuously monitors the sky looking for short-lived gamma-ray events. It consists of 8 detectors mounted around the spacecraft, covering 2/3 of the sky at a time. BATSE is designed to detect bursts of gamma rays that last for intervals of between 30 milliseconds to more than 1000 seconds.
OSSE: the Oriented Scintillation Spectrometer Experiment. OSSE uses 4 separate detectors to observed sources at relatively low gamma ray energies from 100,000 to 10 million electron volts (0.1 to 10 MeV).
COMPTEL: the Imaging Compton Telescope. COMPTEL is conducting a survey of the entire gamma-ray sky, focussing on the range from 1 to 30 million electron volts (1 - 30 MeV).
EGRET: the Energetic Gamma Ray Experiment Telescope. EGRET will also conduct an all-sky survey but of the highest energy phenomena, at energies from 20 million to 30 billion electron volts (20 MeV to 30 GeV).
Click here for the link to the All Sky Low Energy Gamma Ray Observatory ALLEGRO
Chupp, E.L. 1992 Science 258, 1894.
Fishman , G.J. and Meegan, C.A. 1995, Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics 33 415.
Nichols, R.G. 1991, Astronomy July, 45.
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