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G. R. Ricker (MIT), HETE Science Team
The HETE mission is the first satellite mission devoted to the study of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). HETE utilizes a matched suite of wide-field gamma-ray and X-ray detectors mounted on a small spacecraft in an equatorial orbit. Mission operations, for both the spacecraft and science instruments, are carried out exclusively by the Science Team. A unique feature of HETE is its potential for localizing GRBs with ~10 arcmin accuracy (medium energy X-rays) to ~30 arcsec accuracy (low energy X-rays). These GRB locations are transmitted, within ~seconds to ~minutes, directly to a dedicated network of telemetry receivers at 14 automated ``Burst Alert Stations" (BAS) sited along the satellite ground track. The BAS network then re-distributes the GRB locations worldwide via the Internet in ~1 second.
HETE detects sim80 GRBs per year, of which it localizes ~15-20 per year. As of mid-January 2003, HETE had localized 32 GRBs; eight localizations had led to the detection of an X-ray, optical, or radio afterglows; six GRBs had established redshifts. Of the GRBs localized thus far by HETE, 12 have been ``X-ray rich" events. Rapid optical, IR, and radio follow-up identifications of HETE GRBs over the past six months are revealing the nature of ``dark bursts." In addition, HETE has detected ~25 bursts from SGRs, and >650 X-ray bursts. Other highlights from the first 2 years of HETE operations will be presented.
The HETE scientific team includes participants from France, Japan, Brazil, India, Italy, and the USA. This research was supported in the USA by NASA contract NASW-4690.
Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society,
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.