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GLAST Telescope Components to be Tested at CERN

When the task is to find gamma ray photons in outer space, where they are outnumbered 10,000 to 1 by charged particles, it helps to have a perfectly calibrated instrument.

The instrument charged with this challenging task is the Large Area Telescope (LAT), assembled at SLAC as part of the NASA-led multi-nation Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) project. As the LAT gets ready to go to the Naval Research Laboratory for further environmental testing, a scaled-down version of it, called a calibration unit, will undergo several weeks of testing at CERN from the end of July through mid-September.

"We will shoot particles of different types and energies at the calibration unit and compare the results to computer simulations," said SLAC's Eduardo do Couto e Silva. “This will be of immense value in calibrating the GLAST telescope."

Luca Latronico, of the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) and the University of Pisa, is leading an international effort to build and test the calibration unit. Ronaldo Bellazzini, of INFN and the University of Pisa, and Benoit Lott, of the Centre d'Etudes Nucléaires de Bordeaux Gradignan, are the project's spokesmen. The project coordinators are Lott, Bellazzini and do Couto e Silva, who is also affiliated with the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology.

—Chandra Shekhar
   SLAC Today, April 27, 2006