Charles Dermer, Mark Strickman
(Naval Research Laboratory) ,
& Kurt Mitman
(Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology)
Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) are brief (seconds-minutes) flashes of hard X-rays and soft g rays occurring from random directions in the sky.
The BATSE telescope on the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, which is sensitive to photons in the 50-300 keV range and surveys about 40% of the full sky, detects about one GRB per day. The nature of these high-energy transients remained unclear until the discovery of GRB afterglows, leading to redshift measurements and distance determinations. The implied energies and luminosities point to a fireball/blast-wave origin of the missions.