GLAST telescope ready to mount

GLAST telescope ready to mount

GLAST telescope ready to mount

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Sept. 21 2006 9:54 PM

GLAST telescope ready to mount

Cool high-energy astronomy news: the Large Area Telescope (or LAT), the main instrument for the Gamma Ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) is ready to be mounted on the spacecraft. GLAST is a joint NASA/Department of Energy mission due to launch next year, and will observe super-high-energy explosions and other titanically energetic events like galaxy collisions and black holes gobbling down matter. I work on the education and public outreach for GLAST, so I'm happy. If it works, I'm funded for a few more years.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

Here's what the LAT looks like as it sits in a clean area (to prevent dust and other contaminants) at the Naval Research Lab just outside Washington, DC:

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The picture is fuzzy due to the clear plastic curtains separating the LAT from the dirty outside air. I always think those clean rooms look like restaurant walk-in coolers.

One funny thing: in the press release, Steve Ritz, the project scientist (read: big science cheese) for GLAST said this:

The Large Area Telescope is a unique and beautiful new instrument for science...

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I hope he didn't mean that literally-- here's an image of the LAT from a few months back:

Cool? Yes. "Beautiful"? Bzzzzt. :-)

Still, it'll do amazing stuff, giving us pictures and spectra of incredible events that, until even a few years ago, were totally unknown to us.

And don't forget to add GLAST to your MySpace page!