Energy Coverage of CGRO's Instruments
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Designing gamma-ray telescopes is difficult. Energetic gamma-ray photons easily penetrate the mirrors and lenses found in optical telescopes used by ground-based astronomical observatories. Although they can not be reflected or focused, gamma rays can be detected by observing their interactions with matter. Scintillation detectors, such as those employed by the instruments onboard the Compton Observatory, produce a flash of light during the gamma-ray interaction. These flashes are recorded by light-sensitive photomultipliers whose output is monitored to analyze the gamma-ray event. The materials and design characteristics of each instrument are tailored to provide sensitivity over a specific energy range as Illustrated in this slide. The overlapping energy ranges of all the instruments cover a total energy range of 20 keV to 30 GeV.
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