Gamma-Ray Astronomy: Nuclear Transition Region

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Springer Netherlands, Dec 31, 1976 - Science - 336 pages
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Observation of discrete energy electromagnetic emissions from celestial objects in the radio, IR, optical, lN, and X-ray spectral regions has dramatically advanced our know ledge in the field of astrophysics. It is expected that identification of nuclear 'Y-ray line emissions from any cosmic source would also prove to be a powerful new tool for probing the Universe. Since the publication of Morrison's work in 1958, many experiments were carried out searching for evidence of 'Y-ray lines from cosmic sources, however with little success. Only a few positive experimental results have been reported, in spite of an expenditure of considerable effort by many people: in particular, the possible Galactic Center emission line (473 to 530keV) and 'Y-ray lines at several energies (e. g. , 0. 5 MeV and 2. 2 MeV) associated with large solar flares. Both of these observations are unconfirmed by indepen dent observations (ca. 1975). The high energy 'Y-rays (>30MeV) from the Galactic Center are at least partly due to the decay of 1[0 mesons, which are of unique energy (67. 5 MeV) in the 1[0 rest frame only. The reasons for the limited amount of data avail able in this field, even though early theoretical predictions were very optimistic regarding fluxes of nuclear lines, are that experimental efforts are plagued with high backgrounds and low fluxes, and that development of instruments with telescopic properties in the energy range of interest is difficult.

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