High Resolution Observations of Gamma-Ray Line Profiles from SN 1987A
Supernova 1987A was a unique opportunity for gamma-ray astronomers to observe freshly synthesized radioactive material from a type II supernova. Gamma-ray lines were first detected by the spectrometer on the SMM satellite (MATZ et al [1,2]), which was the only instrument to provide a continuous monitor of the gamma-ray line light curves. Unfortunately, no high resolution satellite instrument was in space to make the critical continuous measurements of the shape of the gamma-ray lines, which are necessary to extract direct information about the distribution of 56Co in the expanding supernova shell. Balloon-borne instruments were able to partially fill this gap with a few snapshots of the line profile (see Table 1). The Gamma-Ray Imaging Spectrometer (GRIS) was the most sensitive of a new generation of high resolution spectrometers which were rushed to completion in time to observe SN1987A (see TUELLER et al  for a description of the instrument).
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