(Submitted January 07, 1997)
I have seen shows on my cable that is on the NASA channel.
They deal with NASA's programs and also programs that have
people that talk about space and the Universe. On one of
the shows it had a part dealing with certain light sources
that the government wanted to detect to see, if the people
were testing bombs in space during WWII. The light source
was I believe gamma-rays because of the bombs giving off the
light source in that range. It was determined that there
were light sources being detected, but not from any place
in space from a bomb, but from something else and the
energy from this was greater then the energy of the hole
Universe. It was mentioned that either it was wrong on
the way energy was being assessed or calculated or the size
of the Universe is 10x bigger then what they had believed.
The search for bombs in space you refer
to actually occurred during the height of the cold war, in the 1960s.
The United States worried that China or the Soviet Union could explode
nuclear weapons in space, hiding this activity from other countries, which
would have been a violation of the nuclear test ban treaty. The Vela
series of satellites were launched into space to search for gamma-ray
emission from such a test in space, even in locations as remote as behind
the Moon. No gamma-rays were detected from Earth, but as you know, a
number of gamma-ray bursts were detected, and the information gathered
from the satellites that observed these events indicated that the bursts
occur far from Earth. Explaining the cause of gamma-ray bursts is still
an exciting area of research for high-energy astrophysics. You can learn
more about this on the Learning Center home pages.
for Imagine the Universe!