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MoonBEAM: A Beyond Earth-orbit Gamma-ray Burst Detector for Multi-Messenger Astronomy

Presentation #315.02 in the session “The Promise of New Technology for High Energy Astrophysics”.

Published onJan 11, 2021
MoonBEAM: A Beyond Earth-orbit Gamma-ray Burst Detector for Multi-Messenger Astronomy

Moon Burst Energetics All-sky Monitor (MoonBEAM) is a SmallSat concept of deploying gamma-ray detectors in cislunar space to increase gamma-ray burst detections and improve localization precision with the timing triangulation technique. A gamma-ray instrument in cislunar orbit will have greatly reduced sky blockage compared to instruments in low Earth orbit. Working in conjunction with another instrument in low Earth orbit, MoonBEAM can help constrain the arrival direction of the wavefront to an annulus on the sky by utilizing the light arrival times between the different orbits. This method has been demonstrated by the Interplanetary Gamma-Ray Burst Timing Network and deploying MoonBEAM beyond Earth orbit will provide a long baseline. We present here a gamma-ray SmallSat concept with two viable orbits that is capable of fast response and provide a timing baseline for localization improvement. Such an instrument would provide a different vantage point for gamma-ray burst observation, and aid in the gravitational wave follow-up observations in other wavelengths to identify the gamma-ray burst afterglow and kilonova emission. Reducing the region of interest makes identifying afterglows much faster, allowing for rapid on-source observations and monitoring of the rise and decay times. It will also prevent source confusion between two transients and enable robust association. A gamma-ray detection could also increase the confidence of a simultaneous but marginal gravitational wave signal, extending the detection horizon.

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