The Space Radiation Environment and Background Noise in Astronomical Gamma-ray Telescopes
A. J. Dean; F. Lei; G. Gurrarian; C. Ferguson; A. J. Bird; J. J. Lockley (2000), JBIS, 53, 97-103
The intimate relationship between γ-ray photons and nuclear processes ensures that these energetic photons provide a direct and exacting probe of the high-energy physics phenomena that take place throughout the universe. Consequently γ-ray astronomy is capable of providing fundamental insights into the underlying sources of energy which drive cosmic sources. Unfortunately this same close relationship also ensures that the observer’s astronomical telescope itself becomes a bright source of background noise, a factor aggravated by the fact that γ-ray telescopes are obliged to operate within the space radiation environment. The resultant background noise is high and derived from extremely complex sequences of particle interactions. In order to improve the sensitivity of telescopes operating in the γ-ray domain, it is vital to understand the detailed contributions to the background noise in meticulous detail and devise methods of suppressing them. These aspects are discussed in this paper.