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Dr. Neil Gehrels
Swift principal investigator, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md
Dr. Neil Gehrels is head of the Astroparticle Physics Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. He is Principal Investigator of NASA's SWIFT Observatory which was launched in November 2004. His research involves building space flight instruments to observe astronomical objects. The emphasis of his research is on explosive events in the cosmos such as gamma-ray bursts and supernovae. He received his Ph.D. in physics at Caltech in 1981 and has been an astrophysicist at Goddard since that time. He was Project Scientist for the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory during its operations from 1991 to 2000.
Shows the counting rate in the gamma-ray instrument on Swift for two gamma-ray bursts. The top panel is for the high redshift burst observed on September 4, 2005 (GRB 050904). The bottom panel shows a typical burst for comparison; it is the one Swift detected on March 26, 2005 (GRB 050326). GRB 050904 is fainter and much longer than typical.
Image credit: Dr. Neil Gehrels