First Observation of the MeV Gamma-Ray Universe with Bijective Imaging Spectroscopy Using the Electron-tracking Compton Telescope on Board SMILE-2+
Links to Fileshttps://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/1538-4357/ac6103
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Type of Work13 pages
Citation of Original PublicationTakada, Atsushi et al. First Observation of the MeV Gamma-Ray Universe with Bijective Imaging Spectroscopy Using the Electron-tracking Compton Telescope on Board SMILE-2+. The Astrophysical Journal 930 (Apr. 28, 2022, no. 1. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ac6103
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MeV gamma-rays provide a unique window for the direct measurement of line emissions from radioisotopes, but observations have made little significant progress since COMPTEL on board the Compton Gamma-ray Observatory (CGRO). To observe celestial objects in this band, we are developing an electron-tracking Compton camera (ETCC) that realizes both bijective imaging spectroscopy and efficient background reduction gleaned from the recoil-electron track information. The energy spectrum of the observation target can then be obtained by a simple ON–OFF method using a correctly defined point-spread function on the celestial sphere. The performance of celestial object observations was validated on the second balloon SMILE-2+ , on which an ETCC with a gaseous electron tracker was installed that had a volume of 30 × 30 × 30 cm3. Gamma-rays from the Crab Nebula were detected with a significance of 4.0σ in the energy range 0.15–2.1 MeV with a live time of 5.1 hr, as expected before launch. Additionally, the light curve clarified an enhancement of gamma-ray events generated in the Galactic center region, indicating that a significant proportion of the final remaining events are cosmic gamma-rays. Independently, the observed intensity and time variation were consistent with the prelaunch estimates except in the Galactic center region. The estimates were based on the total background of extragalactic diffuse, atmospheric, and instrumental gamma-rays after accounting for the variations in the atmospheric depth and rigidity during the level flight. The Crab results and light curve strongly support our understanding of both the detection sensitivity and the background in real observations. This work promises significant advances in MeV gamma-ray astronomy.
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