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Session 71 - Space Astronomy in the Next Millennium.
Display session, Wednesday, January 17
North Banquet Hall, Convention Center

[71.20] The Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST): a Wide Field, High Angular Resolution Observatory for High Energy Astrophysics

K. Wood (NRL), P. Michelson (Stanford U.), G. Collaboration

The Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) is a proposed next-generation high-energy gamma-ray telescope for studying emission from astrophysical sources in the 10 MeV to 300 GeV energy range. It has been se;ected by NASA for a Mission Concept Study. The primary scientific targets include active galactic nuclei, gamma-ray bursts, neutron stars, and diffuse galactic and extragalactic high-energy radiation. GLAST relies on the unambigious identification of incident gamma-rays by detection of the electron and positron that result from pair creation in a thin converter material. Measurement of the energy and direction of the electron-positron shower provides information about the energy and direction of the incident gamma-ray. The GLAST design utilizes modern solid-state particle detector technology and recently developed advanced space-qualified computers. In particular, position-sensitive silicon strip detectors, interleaved between thin converters, are used to track particles. Because of this technical approach, the telescope design can be easily optimized to a range of sizes. For example, accomodation of GLAST within a Delta II size launch system results in an instrument with capabilities well beyond those of the highly successful EGRET currently operating on the Compton Observatory; namely, a broader energy range, larger effective area, wider field of view, and single-photon angular resolution 2 to 5 times more precise than EGRET's resolution. GLAST will have a maximum effective area of 8000 cm^2 above 300 MeV, a field of view of 2.6 sr, and a single photon angular resolution (rms projected) of 0.3\deg at 1 GeV, approaching 0.03\deg above 20 GeV.

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