Initial results from COMPTEL onboard GRO


COMPTEL is the first imaging telescope to explore the MeV gamma-ray range (0.7 to 30 MeV). At present, it is performing a complete sky survey. In later phases of the mission selected celestial objects will be studied in more detail. The data from the first year of the mission have demonstrated that COMPTEL performs very well. First sky maps of the inner part of the Galaxy clearly identify the plane as a bright MeV-source (probably due to discrete sources as well as diffuse radiation). The Crab and Vela pulsar lightcurves have been measured with unprecedented accuracy. The quasars 3C273 and 3C279 have been seen for the first time at MeV energies. Both quasars show a break in their energy spectra in the COMPTEL energy range. The 1.8 MeV line from radioactive26A1 has been detected from the central region of the Galaxy and a first sky map of the inner part of the Galaxy has been obtained in the light of this line. Upper limits to gamma-ray line emission at 847 keV and 1.238 MeV from SN 1991T have been derived. Upper limits to the interstellar gamma-ray emissivity have been determined at MeV-energies. Several cosmic gamma-ray bursts within the field-of-view have been located with an accuracy of about 1°. On 1991 June 9, 11 and 15, COMPTEL observed gamma-ray emission (continuum and line) from three solar flares. Also neutrons were detected from the June 9 and June 15 flares.



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Advances in Space Research



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