The MILAGRO Gamma Ray Observatory

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Session 16 -- >100 GeV Gamma Ray Astronomy
Display presentation, Monday, 9, 1995, 9:20am - 6:30pm

[16.04] The MILAGRO Gamma Ray Observatory

A.Shoup, S.Barwick, P.Chumney, G.B.Yodh (U.C.Irvine), C.Y.Chang, M.L.Chen, C.Dion, J.A.Goodman (U.Maryland), D.Berley (U.Maryland, NSF), T.J.Haines, C.M.Hoffman, D.E.Nagle, V.D.Sandberg, G.Sanders, S.Schaller, D.H.White, D.M.Schmidt, C.Sinnis (LANL), M.Cavalli-Sforza, D.Coyne, D.Dorfan, L.Kelley, S.Klein, R.Schnee, D.A.Williams, T.Yang (U.C. Santa Cruz), A.I.Mincer, P.Nemethy (New York U.), D.Bauer, D.Caldwell, A.Lu, S. Yellin (U.C.Santa Barbara), T.J.O'Neill, O.T.Tumer, A.Zych (U.C. Riverside), S.J.Freedman, B.K.Fujikawa (U.C. Berkley), R.W.Ellsworth (George Mason U.), S.Biller (U.C. Irvine, U. Leeds), B.L.Dingus (Goddard S.F.C.), H.S.Ahulwalia (U. New Mexico)

MILAGRO will be the first water-\v{C}erenkov detector specifically built to study extensive air showers. It is being built in an existing man-made pond 60m x 80m by 8m, located in the Jemez mountains near Los Alamos, NM. Unlike conventional air shower detectors, which sample less than 1\% of the particles which reach detector level, MILAGRO will be totally sensitive to the electrons, photons, hadrons, and muons in the air shower. The energy threshold of the MILAGRO detector is comparable to atmospheric \v{C}erenkov detectors, however it has several advantages over these optical detectors. MILAGRO is operational 24 hours a day in all weather conditions and it has an open aperture which allows it to view the entire northern sky every day. These capabilities allow for a systematic all-sky survey to be done for the first time at VHE energies. MILAGRO will measure the Crab spectrum with high significance. In addition, it will detect and measure the spectra from AGN's such as MRK 421. MILAGRO will be the first VHE detector capable of recording Gamma Ray Bursts at energies above 250 GeV. MILAGRO will search for point sources of VHE gamma radiation, both steady and episodic. The scientific merits of this detector together with its design and current status will be discussed.

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