Astronomy Today

Gamma-Ray Space Telescopes

After whom is the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory named?

The CGRO was named for the Nobel Prize-winning, American physicist Arthur Holly Compton (1892–1962). He pioneered the study of X-ray reflections in crystals and the scattering of X-rays by matter. He also discovered the effect known today as Compton scattering, where X-ray photons transfer some of their energy away when they interact with electrons. (The inverse effect, wherein subatomic particles add energy to X-rays and make the radiation more powerful, is an important way that astronomical objects like quasars produce high-energy X-rays and gamma rays.)


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