New Ground-Based Arrays to Probe Cosmic Powerhouses

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Science  30 Apr 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5415, pp. 734-735
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5415.734

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TOKYO-- The highest energy gamma rays elude satellite-based detectors because of their poor angular resolution. So, in a flurry of construction in deserts and on mountain peaks, astronomers are building arrays of reflectors and light detectors designed to pick up the faint glow produced when gamma ray photons slam into the upper atmosphere. Built at a tiny fraction of the cost of satellites, these telescopes should help unlock the mysteries behind high-energy sources of photons such as gamma ray bursts, supernovae, and the black hole-powered infernos called blazars, which are the most powerful and puzzling phenomena in the universe.