In fact, say Dr. Rob Preece, doctoral candidate J. Michael Burgess and Dr. Michael S. Briggs
, Earth was actually at the center of the hit from April's big gamma ray burst, --which they picked up on equipment aboard the Fermi Space Telescope that UAH and partners NASA/MSFC and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
in Germany designed and tested.
"Our observations show that gamma ray bursts are less common in the immediate universe," said Dr. Briggs
Dr. Preece and Dr. Briggs
developed the ground and flight software.
"NASA wanted a gamma ray instrument and we are experts in gamma rays, so we proposed it," said Dr. Briggs, who is the UAH principle investigator for the Fermi Gamma Ray Burst Monitor (GBM), the official name of the equipment UAH, NASA and the Germans created to fly on the Fermi telescope.
From 2000 to the flight in 2008, UAH
and Marshall Space Flight Center
worked in partnership with the German institute and German companies to document, build and test GBM.
A U.S. company, Southwest Research Institute
, designed and built the flight computer.
and Dr. Preece were both deeply involved in the testing of the monitor system at locations from Huntsville to Phoenix to the District of Columbia, and in its integration into the Fermi telescope, to the point where Dr. Preece oversaw technicians as they plugged in the wiring.