Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Orbiting Gamma-ray Observatory Begins Search For Odd Space Objects

Date:
July 14, 2008
Source:
Stanford University
Summary:
The researchers have stopped holding their breath. The $690 million observatory they sent into orbit June 11 has awoken to begin its observation of the gamma-ray light from celestial mystery object such as black holes, spinning neutron stars and dark matter.

The GLAST spacecraft and Delta II rocket leap off the launch pad.
Credit: Carleton Bailie for United Launch Alliance

The scientists have stopped holding their breath. Three weeks after the launch of the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST), researchers from Stanford University, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and elsewhere have shaken awake the scientific instruments aboard their $690 million satellite, 350 miles above Earth, for the first time.

And everything's working.

On the Large Area Telescope, the principal instrument on GLAST, the computers booted up properly, the 16 gamma-ray detectors came to life, and communications checked out well. The observatory's navigation system is following directions from the ground to turn toward interesting objects.

"I've been watching space projects for 30 years or so and I've never seen one go as smoothly as this one," said Roger Blandford, the director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, which is housed both on the main Stanford campus and at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC).

The telescope will see the normally invisible gamma rays from stars and other cosmic objects and offer a more complete view of some of the most violent events in the universe. GLAST will study, among other things, enormously powerful gamma-ray bursts, strange beams of charged particles from spinning black holes and pulses of energy from spinning neutron stars.

It may even find the gamma-ray signature of dark matter, the unseen material that may hold the universe together.

Data from the satellite already has begun flowing to the Instrument Science Operations Center at SLAC, where it is used to calibrate the telescope for the work ahead. The telescope is weeding out unwanted cosmic rays and measuring the first of the billion or so gamma rays it should eventually see from cosmic sources.

Some 30 collaboration members from around the world have come to SLAC to assist in the commissioning phase to bring the Large Area Telescope to its mission-ready performance.

"Everybody's really happy," said Rob Cameron, the manager of the SLAC operations center. "We've got plenty of work to do. We've got to calibrate the instrument, tune it up to prepare it for science."

GLAST is a NASA project, a consortium of six countries and 14 U.S. research institutions. At Stanford, project members come from SLAC, a U.S. Department of Energy laboratory; the Physics Department; the Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory; and the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Stanford University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Stanford University. "Orbiting Gamma-ray Observatory Begins Search For Odd Space Objects." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080710094031.htm>.
Stanford University. (2008, July 14). Orbiting Gamma-ray Observatory Begins Search For Odd Space Objects. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080710094031.htm
Stanford University. "Orbiting Gamma-ray Observatory Begins Search For Odd Space Objects." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080710094031.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) — A comet from the farthest reaches of the solar system passed extremely close to Mars this weekend, giving astronomers a rare opportunity to study it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) — Argentina launches a home-built satellite, a first for Latin America. It will ride a French-made Ariane 5 rocket into orbit, and will provide cell phone, digital TV, Internet and data services to the lower half of South America. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

NASA (Oct. 17, 2014) — Power spacewalk, MAVEN’s “First Light”, Hubble finds extremely distant galaxy and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon Might Have A Hidden Ocean

Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon Might Have A Hidden Ocean

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) — The smallest of Saturn's main moons, Mimas, wobbles as it orbits. Research reveals it might be due to a global ocean underneath its icy surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins