Probing the Universe with Mirrors That Trick Light

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For astrophysicists, stargazing may be different than for most people, who are content to admire a star's beauty or possibly make a wish. More than a few astrophysicists wish they could be closer to the stars--or to at least have more sophisticated probing instruments--to understand more about the universe. Astrophysicists study x-rays originating from our Sun, stars, and supernova remnants to understand the extreme physical processes occurring there. In recent years, Livermore researchers have developed optics for astrophysical applications that can focus hard x-rays (that is, x-rays with energy levels above 20 kiloelectronvolts) emanating from celestial objects, such as supernovae. ... continued below

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Hazi, A September 20, 2005.

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For astrophysicists, stargazing may be different than for most people, who are content to admire a star's beauty or possibly make a wish. More than a few astrophysicists wish they could be closer to the stars--or to at least have more sophisticated probing instruments--to understand more about the universe. Astrophysicists study x-rays originating from our Sun, stars, and supernova remnants to understand the extreme physical processes occurring there. In recent years, Livermore researchers have developed optics for astrophysical applications that can focus hard x-rays (that is, x-rays with energy levels above 20 kiloelectronvolts) emanating from celestial objects, such as supernovae. In addition to astrophysics, hard x-ray optics have a variety of possible applications, including medical imaging, laser target characterization, and radiation detection. Livermore researchers have long contributed to advancements in supernova astrophysics because studying thermonuclear processes is a central part of the Laboratory's national security mission, and the physical processes involved in a nuclear weapon and an exploding star are similar. Livermore physicists Bill Craig, who is involved in several projects using x-ray optics, says, ''We can do a better job of detecting illicit radioactive sources because of what we have learned from our developments in astrophysics. Whether the radiation source is from a black hole in space or nuclear material in a dirty bomb, detecting the source involves the same challenge, which is to pick up faint signals (high-energy photons) amidst background radiation.''

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PDF-file: 10 pages; size: 0.5 Mbytes

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  • Report No.: UCRL-TR-215651
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • DOI: 10.2172/883588 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 883588
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc892559

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • September 20, 2005

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 23, 2016, 2:42 p.m.

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  • Dec. 7, 2016, 7:05 p.m.

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Hazi, A. Probing the Universe with Mirrors That Trick Light, report, September 20, 2005; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc892559/: accessed September 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.