Background observations on the SMM high energy monitor at energies greater than 10 MeVThe background rate in any gamma ray detector on a spacecraft in near-earth orbit is strongly influenced by the primary cosmic ray flux at the spacecraft's position. Although the direct counting of the primary cosmic rays can be rejected by anticoincident shields, secondary production cannot be. Secondary production of gamma rays and neutrons in the instrument, the spacecraft, and the earth's atmospheric are recorded as background. A 30 day data base of 65.5 second records has been used to show that some of the background rates observed on the Gamma Ray Spectrometer can be ordered to a precision on the order of 1 percent This ordering is done with only two parameters, namely the cosmic ray vertical cutoff rigidity and the instrument's pointing angle with respect to the earth's center. This result sets limits on any instrumental instability and also on any temporal or spatial changes in the background radiation field.
Forrest, D. J. (New Hampshire, University Durham, United States)