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11 October 2004 MEGA: the next generation Medium Energy Gamma-ray Telescope
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The MEGA mission would enable a sensitive all-sky survey of the medium-energy ?-ray sky (0.3-50 MeV). This mission will bridge the huge sensitivity gap between the COMPTEL and OSSE experiments on the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, the SPI and IBIS instruments on INTEGRAL and the visionary ACT mission. It will, among other things, serve to compile a much larger catalog of sources in this energy range, perform far deeper searches for supernovae, better measure the galactic continuum emission as well as identify the components of the cosmic diffuse emission. The large field of view will allow MEGA to continuously monitor the sky for transient and variable sources. It will accomplish these goals with a stack of Si-strip detector (SSD) planes surrounded by a dense high-Z calorimeter. At lower photon energies (below ~30 MeV), the design is sensitive to Compton interactions, with the SSD system serving as a scattering medium that also detects and measures the Compton recoil energy deposit. If the energy of the recoil electron is sufficiently high (> 2 MeV), the track of the recoil electron can also be defined. At higher photon energies (above ~10 MeV), the design is sensitive to pair production events, with the SSD system measuring the tracks of the electron and positron. We will discuss the various types of event signatures in detail and describe the advantages of this design over previous Compton telescope designs. Effective area, sensitivity and resolving power estimates are also presented along with simulations of expected scientific results and beam calibration results from the prototype instrument.
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