Sources/First gamma-ray source in Triangulum Australe

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This is a high-energy gamma radiation image about the Earth, taken from Energetic Gamma Ray Experiment Telescope on the NASA’s Compton Gamma Ray Observatory satellite. Credit: United States Department of Energy.{{free media}}

The first gamma-ray source in Triangulum Australe is unknown.

The field of gamma-ray astronomy is the result of observations and theories about gamma-ray sources detected in the sky above.

The first astronomical gamma-ray source discovered may have been the Sun.

But, gamma-rays from the Sun do not penetrate far enough into the Earth's atmosphere to be detected on the ground.

The early use of sounding rockets and balloons to carry detectors high enough may have detected gamma-rays from the Sun as early as the 1940s.

This is a lesson in map reading, coordinate matching, and searching. It is also a project in the history of gamma-ray astronomy looking for the first astronomical gamma-ray source discovered in the constellation of Triangulum Australe.

Nearly all the background you need to participate and learn by doing you've probably already been introduced to at a secondary level and perhaps even a primary education level.

Some of the material and information is at the college or university level, and as you progress in finding gamma-ray sources, you'll run into concepts and experimental tests that are an actual search.

The bright center of the galaxy is located in the constellation Sagittarius. From Sagittarius, the hazy band of white light appears to pass westward through the constellations of Scorpius, Ara, Norma, Triangulum Australe, Circinus, Centaurus, Musca, Crux, Carina, Vela, Puppis, Canis Major, Monoceros, Orion and Gemini, Taurus, to the galactic anticenter in Auriga. From there, it passes through Perseus, Andromeda, Cassiopeia, Cepheus and Lacerta, Cygnus, Vulpecula, Sagitta, Aquila, Ophiuchus, Scutum, and back to Sagittarius.

First step

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The first step is to succeed in finding a gamma-ray source in Triangulum Australe.

Next, you'll need to determine the time stamp of its discovery and compare it with any that have already been discovered.

Over the history of gamma-ray astronomy a number of sources have been found, many as point sources in the night sky. These points are located on the celestial sphere using coordinate systems. Familiarity with these coordinate systems is not a prerequisite. Here the challenge is geometrical, astrophysical, and historical. The coordinates are usually supplied by the gamma-ray source observers.

Astronomical sources

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Def. a natural source usually of radiation in the sky especially at night is called an astronomical source.

A source of astronomical information on older detections of gamma-ray sources is included in the Science section of the lecture/article gamma-ray astronomy.

Traveling gamma-ray sources

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The Moon is seen by the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, in gamma rays of greater than 20 MeV. Credit: D. J. Thompson, D. L. Bertsch (NASA/GSFC), D. J. Morris (UNH), R. Mukherjee (NASA/GSFC/USRA).{{free media}}

Many gamma-ray sources do not remain in a constellation for lengthy periods. Some of these are the Sun and sources apparently in orbit around the Sun. The Sun travels through the 13 constellations along the ecliptic (the plane of the Earth's orbit around the Sun): the 12 of the Zodiac and the constellation Ophiuchus. These are described in source astronomy.


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To introduce yourself to some aspects of the challenge may I suggest reading the highlighted links mentioned above, and if you're curious, those listed under the section "See also" below.

Gamma-rays are a form of radiation that is currently part of the electromagnetic radiation intersecting the Earth. More information about radiation is in radiation astronomy.


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This is an image of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) sky map of the constellation Triangulum Australe. Credit: IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg).

The Wikipedia article about the constellation Triangulum Australe contains a high school level description. The figure at right shows the sky map of Triangulum Australe. Around the edges of the map are coordinates related to longitude and latitude, but with the Earth rotating on its axis every 24 hours the celestial coordinates must remain fixed relative to the background light sources in the sky.

Also, in the Wikipedia article is a list of stars in Triangulum Australe.

Searching catalogs

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In the lecture/article gamma-ray astronomy in its science section is a list of older catalogs of gamma-ray sources. Using the constellation description in the previous section and the range of coordinates for the constellation in source astronomy, scan through the coordinates for these gamma-ray sources to see if any may be within Triangulum Australe.

If you find any that are, skip down to the section gamma-ray source in Triangulum Australe and make an entry. Be sure to check the coordinate era, most B1950 coordinates have changed slightly to the new J2000 set. Try the catalog designation at either SIMBAD website.

Testing a source

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There are many web sites that may have a gamma-ray source listed for the constellation Triangulum Australe. Some that you may wish to try are in the External links section near the bottom of this lesson.

Wikipedia sources

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A. Constellation article

Under "Notable features" in the Wikipedia article on the constellation Triangulum Australe is the list of stars in Triangulum Australe. Click on this link. In the table of this Wikipedia article is α TrA. To the right are coordinates:

Right ascension (RA): 16h 48m 39.87s and Declination (Dec): -69° 01' 39.5". Find these coordinates on the Triangulum Australe map at the right.

To evaluate the star as a gamma-ray source, skip ahead to section "Gamma-ray source".

B. Wikipedia search

Another way to look for gamma-ray sources in the constellation is to perform a search on Wikipedia. Try "Triangulum Australe "gamma-ray"" without the outside quotes. This yields about 2 returns which include an outline of astronomy and a list of galaxies.

To evaluate each of these as a gamma-ray source (or perhaps containing a gamma-ray source, try your browser's "Find" feature and enter gamma or gamma-ray), skip ahead to section "Gamma-ray source".

SIMBAD sources

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Another way to find possible gamma-ray sources in Triangulum Australe is to use search queries on SIMBAD.

Click on either SIMBAD link under "External links" below, then click on "Criteria query", or "by criteria".

In the tan box, type in "region(16 48 39.87 -69 01 39.5, 10m)", without the quotes. This tells the SIMBAD computer you are interested in a circular region of the celestial sphere centered on the coordinates for alpha Triangulum Australe, with a radius of 10 arcminutes (m).

Notice on the page over at the right from the tan colored box: "Return". The default is "object count". Click on "submit query". In a few moments a result something like "Number of objects: 4" should appear. Click "Back" to see the tan box again.

Add "otype='gam'", or "otype='gB'" for gamma-ray Burst, to the entry so that it reads: "region(16 48 39.87 -69 01 39.5, 10m) & otype='gam'", without the outside quotes. Click on "submit query" again. If the result is "0" number of objects, or "No object found", increase the number of arcminutes, or use "1d" which stands for "one degree".

When you find at least one object, change "Return" to "display" by clicking on the circle to its left, then "submit query".

SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System

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In the naming of sources per constellation, the genitive is in common use. For Triangulum Australe, the genitive is Trianguli Australis.

Click on the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System link below in the "External links". Try "Trianguli Australis gamma-ray" without the quotes, or "alpha trianguli australis" with quotes, followed by "gamma-ray" without quotes.

Click on a link below # Bibcode Authors. If the Abstract describes the detection of gamma-rays from a source in the constellation Triangulum Australe, go to the next section under "SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System".

If it does not try another bibcode link.

Gamma-ray sources

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There are several ways to evaluate a gamma-ray source for the constellation Triangulum Australe.

Wikipedia sources

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Click on the link to the Wikipedia article. After you've enjoyed reading about the source, use the 'find' command of your browser to see if this Wikipedia page mentions anything about "gamma-ray", or "gamma-rays". Does the article mention whether or not the source is a gamma-ray (γ-ray) source?

What is the current time stamp for the Wikipedia article on the source? [Hint]: look for something like "This page was last modified on 25 December 2011 at 20:12." very near the bottom of the page. For now this is an adequate time stamp.

From reading the Wikipedia article on the source, if you believe the text demonstrates that the source is not a gamma-ray source in Triangulum Australe edit the "Non-gamma-ray sources in Triangulum Australe" section near the bottom of the page with an entry similar to "# Alpha Triangulum Australe 25 December 2011 at 20:12 Wikipedia article "Alpha Triangulum Australe".", without the outer quotes, and finish the entry with four "~"s without the quotes after the period. The date included with your designation or username is a time stamp for the entry. The last portion of the entry is the source of your information.

On the other hand, if there are one or more sentences in the article that you believe demonstrates that the source is a gamma-ray source in Triangulum Australe edit the section below "Gamma-ray sources in Triangulum Australe" with a similar entry.

Go to the section entitled, "Challenging an entry".

SIMBAD sources

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To check any source (even one from Wikipedia) on SIMBAD, click of the "External link" to the "SIMBAD Astronomical Database".

At the lower right side of the SIMBAD Astronomical Database page is a "Basic search" box. There are several ways to try your target:

  1. source name: without the quotes or
  2. source coordinates: without the quotes, for example, "21 31 33.52 -05 34 16.2".

If you are looking at a SIMBAD generated table which lists possible targets, click on one.

On its SIMBAD page read down the left side until you see "Other object types:". To the right of this is a list of other object types that the source is. Look for a gam or gB. Is there one in this horizontal list?

If a gam or gB is present, skip down to the section, "SIMBAD time stamp". Even if a either is not present, noting that SIMBAD does not consider the source to be a gamma-ray source is important, so skip down to the "SIMBAD time stamp" section.

If you have already found a gamma-ray source (or a table of them) using SIMBAD, click on the blue link identifier for the first.

SIMBAD time stamp

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Peruse the SIMBAD page for a time stamp or date of last revision. [Hint: it may look something like "2012.01.09CET20:10:02" and be in the upper right.]

If the entry at SIMBAD convinces you that the source is not a gamma-ray source, edit the "Non-gamma-ray sources in Triangulum Australe" section near the bottom of this page and type in an entry similar to "# Source Name 2012.01.09CET20:10:02 SIMBAD article "SIMBAD source name".", without the first set of quotes, followed by four ~s.

If your SIMBAD analysis convinces you that you have found a gamma-ray source in Triangulum Australe (did you check the coordinates vs. the map of Triangulum Australe?), make an entry something like the ones in the section "Gamma-ray sources in Triangulum Australe".

SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System sources

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If the abstract states that a gamma-ray source in Triangulum Australe is detected or studied, consider entering it in the section "Gamma-ray sources in Triangulum Australe" below.

Abstract time stamp

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On the abstract page is a Publication Date:. This may serve as a time stamp for establishing that the source is detected as a gamma-ray source on or before the date of publication. The time stamp followed by four ~s for your verification as determiner in the section "Gamma-ray sources in Triangulum Australe" completes your entry.

Challenging an entry

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Any entry in either the section "Gamma-ray sources in Triangulum Australe" or "Non-gamma-ray sources in Triangulum Australe" can be challenged. The time stamp can be challenged to see if there is an earlier one. The source can be challenged by an earlier source.

Wikipedia challenges

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Is Wikipedia a 'primary source', or does the Wikipedia article cite a source?

Even though Wikipedia has an article on the source, is it a good place to stop in testing whether the source has been detected as an astronomical gamma-ray source?

If the Wikipedia article cites a primary source, skip down to the section on "Primary sources".

SIMBAD challenges

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Is SIMBAD a 'primary source'?

SIMBAD is an astronomical database provided by the Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg. It is an authoritative source, but they do occasionally make a mistake.

If you find a gamma-ray source within the constellation on SIMBAD, the next step is to find the earliest time stamp of discovery.

SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System challenge

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Is the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System abstract entry a primary source?

The SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System is an astronomical database provided by the High Energy Astrophysics Division at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics of Harvard University. The abstract has been copied from the actual article in a scientific journal or other publication. Mistakes can be made and the article may record within its text exact dates when the observation or detection of gamma-rays actually occurred. Such a record may provide an earlier time stamp.

Primary sources

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Primary sources may be searched for possible additional information perhaps not yet evaluated by SIMBAD or not presented in a Wikipedia article about a source.

Wikipedia test sources

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For a Wikipedia article that cites a primary source, scroll down to the reference and open the reference. Read through the article looking for where the source mentioned in the Wikipedia article occurs. Some primary source authors may use source designations that are not mentioned in the Wikipedia article. To look for other designations, click on the link to SIMBAD in the "External links" on this page, enter the source name from the Wikipedia article, and see if other names are mentioned in the article.

When none of the names are mentioned, click on the link for "Google Advanced Search" in the list of "External links", enter the source name or designation(s) such as "Gliese 866", with "gamma-ray" to see if the source has a reference indicating it is a gamma-ray source. And, look for the earliest one. Compose an entry using the primary source.

SIMBAD test sources

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Further down the SIMBAD page is a list of "Identifiers". Click on the blue bold portion.

On the page that appears should be a primary source listed after Ref:. Click on the blue link with the oldest year. This yields an earlier time stamp and entry citation like the current one in the section "Gamma-ray sources in Triangulum Australe". If you find another source or an earlier time stamp, compose a similar entry and edit the section. Additional information to add into the reference can be found by clicking on "ADS services" from the SIMBAD page.

SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System sources test

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Click on either the "Electronic Refereed Journal Article (HTML)" or "Full Refereed Journal Article (PDF/Postscript)", if available.

Depending on the article display, if the abstract is repeated and the article is listed as FREE, click on either the PDF or HTML version.

While scanning or reading the article look for "Observations" (or use the Find function of your browser) and the possible inclusion of dates for these. If more than one gamma-ray source in Triangulum Australe are detected, which one(s) would you list in the section "Gamma-ray sources in Triangulum Australe" below?

An example of an article reference is provided in that section.

Changing an entry

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From your analysis of the source so far, is it a gamma-ray source?

If you have found an earlier time stamp for the source than the one listed in the section below "Non-gamma-ray sources in Triangulum Australe" and the answer to the above question is "no", you can edit the section with your result. Or, you can leave the entries as is and try another star.

If you have found an earlier time stamp for the source than the one listed in the section below "Gamma-ray sources in Triangulum Australe", edit the section with your result. Or, if you found another gamma-ray source with a comparable or earlier time stamp, edit the section with your result.

Gamma-ray sources in Triangulum Australe

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  1. [STK2001] 10878b 2014.01.02CET04:35:29 SIMBAD is a 'gB' at J2000 16h 00m -64.7° and
  2. 3B 940716 is a 'gB' at J2000 15h 54.0m -64° 50'. --Marshallsumter (discusscontribs) 03:40, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

Non-gamma-ray sources in Triangulum Australe

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  1. alpha Trianguli Australis 2014.01.02CET03:26:33 SIMBAD article "* alf TrA" lists it as an X-ray source, but not apparently a gamma-ray source. --Marshallsumter (discusscontribs) 03:12, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

Oldest record

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SIMBAD annotations

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For any particular source, the SIMBAD record may indicate that it is not a gamma-ray source yet above you may have found at least two refereed journal articles indicate that it is. Use the second SIMBAD External links to directly display the SIMBAD database in France.

Enter the name source you have found into the search box. Scroll down to the Annotations :. Look for the link "add an annotation to this object". With browser open to the literature citations available, click on this link. You may need to register as a user. It's free. Post your annotation containing the literature references.


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  1. The first gamma-ray source in Triangulum Australe was probably discovered in the 1960's.

See also

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Further reading

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  • Voges, W.; Aschenbach, B.; Boller, Th.; Bräuninger, H.; Briel, U.; Burkert, W.; Dennerl, K.; Englhauser, J.; Gruber, R.; Haberl, F.; Hartner, G.; Hasinger, G.; Kürster, M.; Pfeffermann, E.; Pietsch, W.; Predehl, P.; Rosso, C.; Schmitt, J. H. M. M.; Trümper, J.; Zimmermann, H. U. (September 1999). "The ROSAT all-sky survey bright source catalogue". Astronomy and Astrophysics 349 (9): 389-405. 
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{{Radiation astronomy resources}}