Credit: Fermi LAT Team
Bright Gamma Sky
The astronomical world is abuzz with the latest release from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope: a list of the 205 brightest high-energy gamma-ray sources at energies above 300 MeV, as detected by Fermi's Large Area Telescope. These sources were detected by Fermi in only 3 months of observation, and consist of some of the most exotic objects in the cosmos: supermassive black holes at the centers of active galaxies, superdense neutron stars in our own Galaxy, and mysterious objects not yet identified. The LAT is so sensitive and has such high spatial resolution that in this three month-long observation, it has enabled astronomers to identify about half the nearly 200 sources left unidentified in nine years of observation with the Energetic Gamma Ray Experiment Telescope (EGRET) instrument, the LAT's precursor instrument which flew on the Compton Gamma-ray Observatory. The image above shows the high energy universe as seen by the LAT over 3 months, with the sky represented in galactic coordinates, so that the plane of the Milky Way stretches from left to right across the middle of the image. Most of the bright sources identified are active galaxies, with about one sixth of the sources not yet identified. What treasures lie hidden in the LAT observations? Astronomers can't wait to find out.
Published: February 9, 2009
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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:23:12 EDT