The Burst and Transient Source Experiment Team at UCSD

The BATSE team at UCSD, led by BATSE Co-Investigator Dr. Jim Matteson, studies the spectroscopy of gamma ray bursts, transient flashes of gamma rays from outside the Solar System. The origin of gamma ray bursts is currently uncertain, and they are perhaps the most mysterious astrophysical phenomenon. Members of the team at UCSD analyze spectroscopic data from the Burst And Transient Source Experiment (BATSE), one of four instruments aboard the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (CGRO). BATSE's primary purpose is the study of gamma ray bursts, but it has been extremely successful in observing solar flares, discovering gamma ray transients and monitoring the gamma ray sky.

Most of the BATSE instrument team is at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), and it is from there that the instrument is operated, and the telemetry from the detectors is processed. BATSE's Principal Investigator, Dr. Gerald J. Fishman, works at MSFC.

At UCSD we are primarily concerned with burst spectroscopy. The most pressing issue is whether absorption lines between 15 and 100 keV are found in the BATSE spectra. Absorption lines have been reported by previous missions, and were attributed to cyclotron absorption in very strong magnetic fields (~10^12 gauss). Using the large number of bursts observed by BATSE, we are also characterizing the shape of the burst spectrum and its evolution. In addition, we study the burst location distribution. On a more mundane level, we are active in instrumental issues such as calibrating our detectors, identifying (and if possible, mitigating) electronic artifacts, and determining the optimum settings.

Burst Links at UCSD

Burst Links Elsewhere

Other Links at UCSD

Last updated July 2, 1998.

This page is maintained by David Band,