Letter | Published:

Detection of an Interstellar Flux of Gamma-Rays

Naturevolume 204pages766767 (1964) | Download Citation

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Abstract

THE intensity and energy distribution of radiation produced by astrophysical processes is important to an understanding of stellar evolution and the mechanism of cosmic ray production and acceleration. Previous efforts to detect a γ-ray flux have been confined to balloon and rocket flights, close to extraneous sources of radiation in the atmosphere and the radiation belts. Although measurable fluxes have been observed in such experiments, only γ-ray fluxes accompanying solar flares have been identified as extraterrestrial in origin1. In this communication, we report γ-ray measurements at distances of 7 × 104 km to 4 × 105 km from the Earth, far enough to make contributions from the Earth negligible. The experiment involved operation of a spectrometer on two flights of the Ranger spacecraft with the primary purpose of monitoring surface radiation from the Moon. Results obtained in cislunar space point to the detection of a substantial interstellar flux of γ-rays.

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References

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Affiliations

  1. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena

    • ALBERT E. METZGER
  2. Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, University of California, Los Alamos, New Mexico

    • ERNEST C. ANDERSON
    •  & MARVIN A. VAN DILLA
  3. Department of Chemistry, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla

    • JAMES R. ARNOLD

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https://doi.org/10.1038/204766a0

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