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New Map From Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the the-incredible-telescope dept.

Space 34

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "NASA has received interesting results from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, originally known as GLAST, which has allowed them to create new map of the gamma-ray sky. The secret to its ability to resolve gamma-rays is that they use layers of tungsten interleaved with silicon detectors. When a gamma-ray strikes tungsten, it produces an electron/positron pair due to the photoelectric effect, which cascades as it goes through further layers of tungsten. Meanwhile, they record which silicon detectors had electrons or positrons pass through them to determine the direction of the source and they also record the total energy of the electron/positron pairs to calculate the wavelength of the gamma-ray using Planck's Law. The data gathered in just its first few hours of operation is reportedly comparable to the data from the Energetic Gamma-Ray Experiment Telescope, which gathered data for nine years back in the 1990's and there are hopes that it could detect dark matter in the form of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs)."

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24774027)

hey guys, my wife kathleen is out of town over the weekend. Anyone want to "top" me up?

-- CmdrTaco

8===F=U=C=K===Y=O=U===D -~~-_ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24774685)

You are repressed homosexual.

Suck my dick.

Sexual Repression (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24775405)

I believe you're talking about the entire population of the Islamic nations. They feel boy pee-pees for fun.

Educate the poor instead (0, Troll)

LogicallyGenius (916669) | more than 5 years ago | (#24774159)

Give free medicines to all Stop the abuse of our taxes

Re:Educate the poor instead (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24774657)

They're educating the poor with a map of the gamma-ray sources so the poor can avoid exposure and not require cancer medicines.

Obama/Biden in 08 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24774213)

Hope and change or more of the same? We can't afford a third George W. Bush term!

Re:Obama/Biden in 08 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24775331)

Hope and change or more of the same? We can't afford a third George W. Bush term!

We can't afford a third Woodrow Wilson term, either.

Re:Obama/Biden in 08 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24775579)

I agree.

How this is in any way relevant to the current election, however, I have no idea.

Re:Obama/Biden in 08 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24785115)

Zombie President Wilson wouldn't dare risk all of our finest young brains in the middle east.

fizick (5, Informative)

fizick (1352613) | more than 5 years ago | (#24774255)

The physics of the detectors described by samzenpus is a bit wonky. Electron/positron pair production has nothing to do with the photoelectric effect. The first is a result of a high energy gamma ray photon interacting with an atomic nucleus, the second is a photon interacting with an atom's electrons.

It's not Samzenpus' fault. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24774417)

Actually, that's my fault. I submitted the story, samzenpus just approved it. I did my best to figure out why a gamma ray produces an electron/positron pair and the photoelectric effect seemed right. Well, except for the positron part, I guess. I should've noticed that, because you're right--it just ejects electrons, it doesn't create antiparticles. It's been too long since my last college physics class. None of the articles I linked to bothered to explain that point, so I did my best to look up the reason.

I also figured that if I was wrong, it would spark some discussion and I'd learn the actual reason. Care to explain more? I would like to know.

- I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property [eff.org]

Re:It's not Samzenpus' fault. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24774689)

Let Roland Piquepaille handle the science stories.

Re:It's not Samzenpus' fault. (5, Informative)

srjh (1316705) | more than 5 years ago | (#24774697)

Well, except for the positron part, I guess.

And for the electron part as well.

Pair production is where a high energy photon (i.e. higher than the rest energy of a positron and an electron) contributes its energy to the creation of an electron/positron pair. The electron doesn't exist to begin with either.

With the photoelectric effect, the energy of the photon contributes to the ejection of an existing electron from the surface of a material. This happens at a much lower energy.

Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24775063)

Thanks! Even if I goofed in the article, we all still learned something from it. It makes me wish I had looked up pair production [wikipedia.org] to begin with, though. I spent quite a while looking things up and still got the wrong answer.

- I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property [eff.org]

Re:fizick (1)

niklask (1073774) | more than 5 years ago | (#24779171)

Not only is the poster wrong about how the silicon microstrip tracker works, he is also wrong about how the total energy of the incident gamma ray is determined. The energy is measured by the calorimeter and that has nothing to do with Planck's law.

Detecting WIMPs? (5, Informative)

CyrusOmega (1261328) | more than 5 years ago | (#24774387)

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weakly_interacting_massive_particle [wikipedia.org]

"Because they [WIMPs] do not interact with electromagnetism they cannot be seen directly"

and

"As more and more WIMPs thermalize inside the Sun, they begin to annihilate with each other, forming a variety of particles including high-energy neutrinos.[1] These neutrinos may then travel to the Earth to be detected in one of the many neutrino telescopes, such as the Super-Kamiokande detector in Japan"

It would seem impossible to actually "detect" WIMPs, but rather their possible effects which is also dependent on the mass of the Higgs boson particle. Maybe I am missing something?

Re:Detecting WIMPs? (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 5 years ago | (#24774439)

The explanation is wishy-washy at best.

Re:Detecting WIMPs? (5, Informative)

habig (12787) | more than 5 years ago | (#24774461)

Correct - GLAST would see WIMPS only indirectly. If WIMP/antiWIMP pairs are out there in the quantities needed to make up all that missing mass, quite a lot of them will be colliding and annihilating anywhere you look at any given time. Some of those annhilation products will be gamma rays. Since WIMPS get pulled around by gravity, you might get a lot of annhilation in the bottom of a potential well, but then the only resulting products which we could see would be whatever eventually decays to neutrinos, which we might see in Super-K.

You're right that exactly what the mixture of decay products and their energies might be are highly model dependent (not the least of which is that we don't know what the higgs weighs), but seeing something is a good first start, it's easier to put the puzzle together when you have some non-invisible pieces to play with.

Re:Detecting WIMPs? (3, Funny)

Kratisto (1080113) | more than 5 years ago | (#24778183)

This is incorrect. Detecting WIMPs is a simple matter of computing CM^2/V, where C is equal to courage in the presence of the other gender, M is equal to total muscle mass, and V is equal to vocal frequency.

Dr. Banner (1)

kampangptlk (1252914) | more than 5 years ago | (#24774447)

is that you disguising again?

OT, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24774629)

I'd just like to point out that I Don't Believe In Imaginary Property is more prolific now than Roland was in his prime, yet there's no griping.

I wonder why...

Re:OT, but (3, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#24774663)

Maybe nobody's complaining because unlike Roland, he's linking directly to the articles themselves rather than to his own site. People didn't so much complain about Roland posting so many articles as they did about the way he was using Slashdot to up the hit count on his own site.

Re:OT, but (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 5 years ago | (#24786677)

Maybe nobody's complaining because unlike Roland, he's linking directly to the articles themselves rather than to his own site. People didn't so much complain about Roland posting so many articles as they did about the way he was using Slashdot to up the hit count on his own site.

I never minded Roland doing that. The articles he submitted were relevant and interesting. So he linked to his own blog; well, what of it? If he's trying to launch himself as some kind of tech pundit, then surely submitting interesting articles direct to your target audience is exactly the way to go about it. Nothing wrong with that. He gets page views, we get good info. Everybody wins.

The one that got my goat was that other guy whose name I forget, who linked in a site that was basically just a link farm for search engine spam. Trying to use /.'s colossal PageRank to push himself up Google. That's just plain dishonourable behaviour.

Re:OT, but (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#24786903)

The one that got my goat was that other guy whose name I forget, who linked in a site that was basically just a link farm for search engine spam.

The problem was that people didn't like having to go to Roland's blog to find the links to the articles. They felt that not linking to them directly was abusive. (Considering how few Slashdotters RTFM, this is a bit odd, but there it is.) Note that Roland's more recent articles do link directly; given time, he learned.

Hi Roland! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24774787)

How're you doing? Still sharing lots of ad-revenue with Slashdot "editors"?

I can answer that! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24774841)

> I'd just like to point out that I Don't Believe In Imaginary Property is more prolific now than Roland was in his prime, yet there's no griping. I wonder why...

Not really. For one, look at the Hall of Fame [slashdot.org] . Rpiquepa is #2 with 455 submissions. Yes, that's Roland's account.

Secondly, there have been many threads with random curiosity/griping. Mostly they stopped caring once they found out that I'm a nobody who does this for fun, but I guess my name gets a lot more attention than prostoalex (the #1 submitter of all time), or most of the rest of the top 10 (except maybe for Mr. Beckerman who has a personal hand in many of his stories).

I'm probably the only submitter who submits this much without using their Slashdot account (I have max karma, I don't really care). I think that also accounts for a lot of the attention.

I don't have any relation to any of the Slashdot editors, though, if that was your implication. I don't know if you've noticed, but they'll write submissions under their own name from time to time. They don't need to invent someone to submit via :-)

I'm also not affiliated with the EFF except that I support their goals. That said, I encourage people to take up the name if they support the goals I do. Feel free to submit to Slashdot under my name. You probably won't make any goofs worse than I have. I spent about an hour trying to figure out what caused the electron/positron pair production only to get it wrong, even though I don't get a thing for doing this.

But I figure I'm staying true to my principles if I don't even lay claim to my own name. It's not like I own it or something :-)

- I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property [eff.org]

Re:I can answer that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24776043)

We have an author field and a homepage field and a .sig field. Please use them. Signing AC posts and adding off-topic links to comments is obnoxious and silly.

Excellent work, citizen. (1)

daemonburrito (1026186) | more than 5 years ago | (#24776169)

But seriously... Posting AC in a discussion you moderated (badly) is way more annoying than signing an AC post.

And FWIW, GP was a pretty great read.

- I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property [eff.org]

(Not really... Just in spirit)

Re:OT, but (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#24777715)

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property isn't an account, so we have no way of knowing how many people are submitting stories under that pseudonym. Since they don't link to anything personally identifiable, and do link to decent sources (instead of blogs commenting on blogs commenting on stories) no one complains.

Gamma Ray astro at ISU (4, Informative)

the_denman (800425) | more than 5 years ago | (#24775533)

I used to do work study for some of the folks working with the GLAST project at Iowa State University their website is here [iastate.edu] and has some more information about Gamma Ray Astrophysics.

Re:Gamma Ray astro at ISU (4, Informative)

niklask (1073774) | more than 5 years ago | (#24778393)

I used to do work study for some of the folks working with the GLAST project at Iowa State University their website is here [iastate.edu] and has some more information about Gamma Ray Astrophysics.

Why not link to the official Fermi (GLAST) websites directly www-glast.stanford.edu [stanford.edu] and http://glast.gsfc.nasa.gov/ [nasa.gov] , instead of linking to an institution who has not contributed significantly to GLAST?

Btw, I used to work with GLAST.

What I'd like to know (0, Offtopic)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#24775675)

There was one thing TFA didn't make clear to me: what does this tell us about man-in-the-moon marigolds?

gn4a (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24776337)

codeba5e became Ho3 is the GNAA

lysdexia (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 5 years ago | (#24779455)

I read that as "Ramma-Gay" instead of "Gamma-Ray".
Freudian slip? I hope not.

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