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Cosmic Gamma-Ray Bursts—A Continuing Mystery

By Klebesadel, Ray W.

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Book Id: WPLBN0000177501
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 1.6 MB
Reproduction Date: 2008
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Title: Cosmic Gamma-Ray Bursts—A Continuing Mystery  
Author: Klebesadel, Ray W.
Language: English
Subject: Government publications, Legislation., Government Printing Office (U.S.)
Collections: Government Library Collection
Publication Date:
Publisher: Government Printing Office


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Klebesadel, R. W. (n.d.). Cosmic Gamma-Ray Bursts—A Continuing Mystery. Retrieved from

Excerpt: The feeling that transient cosmic events were rare was certainly prevalent in 1959 when summit meetings were being held between England, the United States, and Russia to discuss a nuclear test-ban treaty. One key issue was the ability to detect treaty violations unambiguously. A leading proposal for the detection of exo-atmospheric nuclear explosions was the use of satellites with instruments that included detectors sensitive to the gamma rays emitted by the explosion as well as those emitted later during the radioactive decay of the fission products. During the discussion of the capabilities of these satellites, Stirling Colgate (currently a Laboratory scientist, but at that time attached to the U.S. State Department) suggested that gamma rays from a supernova might resemble the radiation of a nuclear test explosion closely enough to trigger an alarm by the satellite detection system. Could this rare event lead to dangerous accusations of a treaty violation? Were there characteristics of a supernova outburst that would distinguish between a weapon test and a cosmic burst?

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