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A.J. Smith (University of Maryland, The Milagro Collaboration)
The last 10 years has seen the field of very-high-energy gamma-ray (> 100GeV) astronomy has come of age. Several active galactic nuclei and supernova remants have been detected by several ground based atmosphereic Cherenkov telescopes (ACT). Many of these TeV sources are variable as are the GeV sources detected by EGRET. ACTs have excelent sensitivity to gamma-ray point sources, but their narrow field of view and short duty cycles limit their ability to search the highly variable TeV sky. The Milagro gamma-ray observatory employs a novel water Cherenkov detector to observe extended air showers produced by high energy particles impacting the earth's atmosphere. The detector consists of a large pond (~ 4000 square meters) instrumented with an array of 723 photomultiplier tubes. The instrument operates 24 hours a day and continuously observes the entire overhead sky (~ 2 sr). Because of its wide field of view and high duty cycle Milagro is uniquely capable of searching for gamma-ray bursts and other transient gamma-ray sources. Preliminary results from the Milagro detector will be presented.
This work is supported in part by the National Science Foundation, the U. S. Department of Energy (Office of High Energy Physics and Office of Nuclear Physics), Los Alamos National Laboratory, the University of California, and the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics.
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