All-Sky Medium Energy Gamma-ray Observatory (AMEGO)
July 22, 2019
The gamma-ray energy range from a few hundred keV to a few hundred MeV has remained largely unexplored since the pioneering but limited observations by COMPTEL on the CGRO (1991-2000). Fundamental astrophysics questions can be addressed by a mission in the MeV range, from astrophysical jets and extreme physics of compact objects to a large population of unidentified objects. Such a mission will also provide critical inputs for multimessenger astrophysics by identifying and exploring the astrophysical objects that produce gravitational waves and neutrinos.
To address these questions, we are developing AMEGO: All-sky Medium Energy Gamma-ray Observatory, as a NASA probe-class mission, to investigate the energy range from 200 keV to >10 GeV with good energy (ranging from <1% at the low end to ~10% at the high end) and angular resolution (from 2 to 6 degrees depending on energy) and with sensitivity a factor of 20-50 better than previous instruments. Measurements at these energies are challenging, mainly due to the fact that two photon interaction processes, Compton scattering and pair production, compete. These interaction processes require different approaches in both detection and data analysis, and consequently in the instrument concept. AMEGO will be capable of measuring both Compton-scattering events at lower energies and pair-production events at higher energies. AMEGO will also have sensitivity to linear polarization of detected radiation at a level of 20% minimum detectable polarization from a source 1% of the Crab intensity, observed for 106 s. AMEGO will be operating mainly in scanning (discovery) mode with a field-of-view of 2.5 sr (20% of the sky observation any time), with the capability to be pointed to particular regions of interest.
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