Gamma Ray Observatory, 1991

Image courtesy of NASA

Gamma Ray Studies:
25 Years Ago This Week

| published April 7, 2016 |

By Keith H. Roberts, Thursday Review contributor

In a photo taken 25 years ago this week, the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory is deployed by the crew of the NASA space shuttle Atlantis. The cutting edge satellite and its observational equipment radically transformed our scientific understanding of gamma rays and how high energy particles impact our atmosphere and the Earth.

The Compton observatory produced a massive, all-sky one year survey of—and study into—gamma rays, the most energetic and penetrating form of light. The deployment of the gamma ray observatory also helped transform the way we look into deep space by broadening our then-limited understanding of how light travels and interacts in the skies above Earth.

This photo was taken from the flight deck/flight cabin inside Atlantis just moments after the satellite’s release and deployment.

Related Thursday Review articles:

Fifty Years Ago in Space: Gemini's First Docking; Keith H. Roberts; Thursday Review; March 16, 2016.

Spacewalk: Making Room for Rendezvous; Keith H. Roberts; Thursday Review; December 22, 2015.