Gammaray Prospects

A few years hence, the multipurpose Gamma-Ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) will function as a true successor to Compton. Instrumented for a wide range of studies from lOkeV to 300 GeV. In the context of gamma-ray bursts, it should yield time-resolved spectra for hundreds of events per year, constraining the degree of relativistic beaming and the possible kinds of shock interactions involved in producing the gamma rays. Onboard software will be able to autonomously point the narrower-angle instruments toward bursts detected with GLAST's all-sky burst monitor.

Additional capabilities for following the fading X-ray tail of gamma-ray bursts may be provided by the Russian Spectrum X-Gamma mission. Its detectors have better sensitivity to hard X-rays than either Chandra or XMM-Newton currently provide. The satellite is well advanced in construction, but programmatic uncertainties indicate that it is difficult to foresee the actual date.

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