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A new look at the gamma-ray sky

By
10:37am, May 8, 2008

Explosions pouring out as much energy in seconds as the sun does in its entire lifetime. Invisible beams of radiation sweeping across the sky like giant searchlights. Supermassive black holes emitting powerful and highly variable jets of radiation.

The universe truly looks different when viewed in gamma rays, the highest energies of the electromagnetic spectrum. And in early June, if all goes according to plan, NASA’s Gamma Ray Large Area Space Telescope, or GLAST, will be on its way to a ringside seat for observing these fireworks. From an orbit 565 kilometers above Earth, GLAST will see the gamma-ray sky with a breadth and clarity never before possible.

Every three hours, the observatory w

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