Paula Cleggett-Haleim Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

July 15, 1992 (Phone: 202/453-1547) RELEASE: 92-113 FIRST IMAGE OF SUN IN NEUTRONS NASA's Compton Gamma Ray Observatory has taken the first image of the sun in neutrons. It is the first picture of any celestial object ever made with neutrons. Neutrons are heavy subatomic particles without any electrical charge. Until today, all images of cosmic objects have been obtained with one or another form of light -- for example, radio, infra-red, visible, x-ray and recently gamma rays (from Compton). Scientists now have a picture of the sun in taken in the "light" of neutrons, which is matter rather than light. "This represents a technological breakthrough," says Dr. Jim Ryan, University of New Hampshire, Durham, "being able to capture an image through the transmission of matter rather than electromagnetic radiation." Dr. Ryan is co-principal investigator on the COMPTEL experiment, one of four instruments on the Compton Observatory. The image was obtained after the large solar flare (an immense explosion on the sun) of June 15, 1991. The neutrons, created in nuclear collisions on the sun, were detected when they penetrated the radiation sensors in the COMPTEL experiment onboard the Compton Observatory and produced flashes of light that were recorded by photomultipliers in the experiment. The image was then constructed in a computer. Solar flares have dramatic effects on the Earth's atmosphere

and other aspects of the environment. The Compton Observatory was deployed from the Space Shuttle Atlantis on April 7, 1991. It was developed by and is managed and operated by Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., for NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications. -endEDITORS NOTE: Two images are available to the news media by calling NASA's Broadcast and Imaging Branch at 202/453-8375. The photo numbers are: Color B&W 92-HC-454 92-H-504

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