The next large NASA mission in the field of gamma-ray astronomy, GLAST, is scheduled for launch in 2007. Aside from the main instrument LAT (Large-Area Telescope), a gamma-ray telescope for the energy range between 20 MeV and > 100GeV, a secondary instrument, the GLAST burst monitor (GBM), is foreseen. With this monitor one of
the key scientific objectives of the mission, the determination of the high-energy behaviour of gamma-ray bursts and transients can be ensured. Its task is to increase the detection rate of gamma-ray bursts for the LAT and to extend the energy range to lower energies (from ~10 keV to ~30 MeV). It will provide real-time burst locations over a wide FoV with sufficient accuracy to allow repointing the GLAST spacecraft. Time-resolved spectra of many bursts recorded with LAT and the burst monitor will allow the investigation of the relation between the keV and the MeV-GeV emission from GRBs over unprecedented seven decades of energy. This will help to advance our understanding of the mechanisms by which gamma-rays are generated in gamma-ray bursts
INTEGRAL is an ESA space mission to study the sky at hard X-ray and soft gamma-ray energies. Its two main instruments SPI and IBIS cover the energy range 15 keV to 10 MeV, and are mainly devoted to high resolution spectroscopy (ΔE ~ 2,5 keV at 1 MeV) and fine source imaging (DJ ~ 12 arcmin), respectively. The 4 tons heavy payload was brought into an excentric orbit of 153.000 km apogee and 9.000 km perigee on October 17, 2002 by a Russian Proton rocket. After a successful performance and verification phase, the observational program started in late December 2002 by executing open-time proposals and guaranteed core-time observations. The observations concentrated mainly towards the galactic plane, and especially the inner Galaxy. Highlights from the first 18 months of the mission are results on nucleosynthesis and solar flare gamma-ray lines, on a survey of hard X-ray binary sources and their identification, on the origin of the "diffuse" galactic ridge emission, and on gamma-ray bursts. Whereas line measurements generally require deep exposures of several million seconds (1 month and more), results on compact objects can be obtained much easier - in most cases they require exposures of only one or a few days.
A new telescope for Medium Energy Gamma-Ray Astronomy, MEGA, is being developed for the energy band 0.4 - 50 MeV as a successor to COMPTEL on CGRO. MEGA aims to improve the sensitivity for astronomical sources by at least an order of magnitude with respect to past instruments and will fill a severe sensitivity gap between already scheduled hard-X-ray and high-energy gamma-ray missions. MEGA records and images gamma rays by completely tracking Compton and pair creation events in a stack of double sided Si-strip track detectors surrounded by a pixelated CsI calorimeter. MEGA will have an effective area of ~100 square cm, a large field of view of ~130 degrees, angular resolution of ~2 degrees, and energy resolution of ~8% (all FWHM at ~2 MeV). Key science objectives for MEGA are the investigation of cosmic high-energy accelerators, nucleosynthesis sites with gamma-ray lines, and the mapping of large-scale structures in the Galaxy and beyond. If operated on a zenith pointing satellite MEGA will be an ideal continuous all-sky monitor for transient sources. This paper describes the development of a small scale prototype and the concept of a space mission for MEGA.
SPI, the Spectrometer on board the ESA INTEGRAL satellite, to be launched in October 2002, will study the gamma-ray sky in the 20 keV to 8 MeV energy band with a spectral resolution of 2 keV for photons of 1 MeV, thanks to its 19 germanium detectors spanning an active area of 500 cm<sup>2</sup>. A coded mask imaging technique provides a 2° angular resolution. The 16° field of view is defined by an active BGO veto shield, furthermore used for background rejection. In April 2001 the flight model of SPI underwent a one-month calibration campaign at CEA in Bruyères le Châtel using low intensity radioactive sources and the CEA accelerator for homogeneity measurements and high intensity radioactive sources for imaging performance measurements. After integration of all scientific payloads (the spectrometer SPI, the imager IBIS and the monitors JEM-X and OMC) on the INTEGRAL satellite, a cross-calibration campaign has been performed at the ESA center in Noordwijk. A set of sources has been placed in the field of view of the different instruments in order to compare their performances and determine their mutual influence. We report on the scientific goals of this calibration activity, and present the measurements performed as well as some preliminary results.
One of the scientific objectives of the GLAST mission is the study of
gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) which will be measured by the Large-Area Telescope, the main instrument of GLAST, in the energy range from ~20 MeV to ~300 GeV. In order to extend the energy measurement towards lower energies a secondary instrument, the GLAST Burst Monitor (GBM)
will measure GRBs from ~10 keV to ~25 MeV and will thus allow the investigation of the relation between the keV and the MeV-GeV emission from GRBs. The GBM consists of 12 circular NaI crystal discs and 2 cylindrical BGO crystals. The NaI crystals are optimized for gamma radiation from ~10 keV to ~1 MeV and the BGO crystals from
~150 keV to ~25 MeV. The NaI crystals are oriented in such a way that the measured relative counting rates allow a rapid determination of the position of a gamma-ray burst within a wide FoV of ~8.6 sr. This position will be communicated within seconds to the LAT which may then be reoriented to observe the long-lasting high-energy gamma-ray emission from GRBs. This will allow the exploration of the unknown aspects of the high-energy burst emission and their connection with the well-known low-energy emission. Another important feature of the GBM is its high time resolution of ~10 microseconds for time-resolved gamma-ray spectroscopy.
ESA's INTErnational Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL) will be launched in October 2002. Its two main instruments are the imager IBIS and the spectrometer SPI. Both emply coded apertures to obtain directional information on the incoming radiation. SPI's detection plane consists of 19 hexagonal Ge detectors, its coded aperture has 63 tungsten-alloy elements of 30 mm thickness.
The spectrometer SPI - one of the two main instruments aboard ESA's INTEGRAL - is dedicated to high resolution gamma-ray line spectroscopy with modest imaging. SPI will mainly concentrate on the study of lines from radioactive isotopes. A wealth of new information is expected from interstellar line emission with narrow line profiles. But existing results are also expected from profile measurements of individual line emitting objects such as supernovae, supernova remnants, novae or stellar black hole systems. In addition, sensitive measurements of continuum emission from compact sources and from interstellar space are expected, especially in the sub-MeV region.
INTEGRAL is ESA's high-energy astrophysics mission to be launched into a high eccentric orbit early in the next decade. One of the two mission's main telescopes is the gamma-ray spectrometer SPI. This instrument features a compact array of 19 high-purity germanium detectors shielded by a massive anticoincidence system. A coded aperture of the HURA type modulates the astrophysical signal. We present the spectrometer system and its characteristics and discuss the choices that led to the present design. The instrument properties like imaging capability, energy resolution and sensitivity have been evaluated by extensive Monte-Carlo simulations. The expected performance for narrow-line spectroscopy is characterized by an energy resolution of approximately 1.6 keV at 1 MeV, an angular resolution of approximately 2 degrees within a totally coded field of view of approximately 15 degrees, and a sensitivity of (2 - 5) multiplied by 10<SUP>-6</SUP> gamma/(cm<SUP>2</SUP> s) for 4 multiplied by 10<SUP>6</SUP> s observation time in the nominal energy range from approximately 20 keV and approximately 8 MeV. With these characteristic features it will be possible for the first time to explore the gamma-ray sky in greater depth and detail than it was possible with previous gamma- ray telescopes like SIGMA, OSSE and COMPTEL. In particular the field of nuclear astrophysics will be addressed with an unprecedented combination of sensitivity and energy. Especially the high-energy resolution allows for the first time measuring gamma-ray line profiles. Such lines are emitted by the debris of nucleosynthesis processes, by the annihilation process near compact objects and by the nuclear interaction between cosmic rays and interstellar matter. Lines of all these processes have been measured so far, but, owing to the relatively poor energy resolution, details of the emission processes in the source regions could not be studied. With the high-resolution spectroscopy of SPI such detailed investigations will be possible opening a wealth of astrophysical investigations.
This paper presents some of the imaging analysis techniques which are currently used to investigate COMPTEL 1.8 MeV gamma-ray line data. In the first part of this paper, an algorithm is presented which allows the accurate prediction of the background distribution at a specific line energy using measurements at adjacent energy intervals. The second part deals with the different image reconstruction methods which are applied to COMPTEL data, namely the maximum entropy method, the Richardson-Lucy algorithm and Pixon- based image reconstruction. We conclude that after 5 years of experience with COMPTEL, 1.8 MeV gamma-ray line imaging techniques are well established allowing a comprehensive study of cosmic gamma-ray line emission.
Using Monte-Carlo simulations, an optimization of the mass distribution of the scintillator crystals, which constitute the veto shield of the spectrometer SPI on board of INTEGRAL, has been performed. Special emphasis was put on a realistic model for the radiation environment in the satellite orbit. All the components of the radiation (gamma- rays, protons and electrons) in space were taken into account regarding their relative fluxes. Furthermore the radiation produced by nuclear reactions within the spacecraft structure was estimated using a separate computer code. A simple realistic mass model of the spectrometer with special consideration of the holding structure of the crystals and other material within the opening angle of the spectrometer, was implemented. Different geometries for background reduction were analyzed and the results are presented. Experiments concerning the behavior of the radiation damage in the scintillator crystals are presented. They give important hints for methods to avoid an increase in the background due to the radiation induced degradation of the crystals.
The International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL) is a proposed joint ESA/NASA/Russia gamma-ray astronomy mission which will provide both imaging and spectroscopy. It is currently at the final stages of an ESA phase-A study which it is hoped will lead to it being adopted during 1993 as the second 'medium-class' mission within ESA's Horizon 2000 plan. Launched in less than 10 years time it will be the successor to the current generation of gamma-ray spacecraft, NASA's Compton Observatory (GRO) and the Soviet- French Granat/Sigma mission. The baseline is to have two main instruments covering the photon energy range 50 keV to 10 MeV, one concentrating on high-resolution spectroscopy, the other emphasizing imaging. In addition there will be two monitors--an X-ray monitor which will extend the photon energy range continuously covered down to a few keV, and an Optical Transient Camera which will search for optical emission from gamma-ray bursts.