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Official NASA Communication 92-113

Official NASA Communication 92-113

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Published by: NASAdocuments on Oct 05, 2007
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05/08/2014

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Paula Cleggett-HaleimHeadquarters, Washington, D.C.July 15, 1992(Phone: 202/453-1547)RELEASE: 92-113FIRST IMAGE OF SUN IN NEUTRONSNASA's Compton Gamma Ray Observatory has taken the firstimage of the sun in neutrons. It is the first picture of anycelestial object ever made with neutrons.Neutrons are heavy subatomic particles without anyelectrical charge. Until today, all images of cosmic objectshave been obtained with one or another form of light -- forexample, radio, infra-red, visible, x-ray and recently gamma rays(from Compton). Scientists now have a picture of the sun intaken in the "light" of neutrons, which is matter rather thanlight."This represents a technological breakthrough," says Dr. JimRyan, University of New Hampshire, Durham, "being able tocapture an image through the transmission of matter rather thanelectromagnetic radiation." Dr. Ryan is co-principalinvestigator on the COMPTEL experiment, one of four instrumentson the Compton Observatory.The image was obtained after the large solar flare (animmense explosion on the sun) of June 15, 1991.The neutrons, created in nuclear collisions on the sun, weredetected when they penetrated the radiation sensors in theCOMPTEL experiment onboard the Compton Observatory and producedflashes of light that were recorded by photomultipliers in theexperiment. The image was then constructed in a computer.Solar flares have dramatic effects on the Earth's atmosphere

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