The Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope (illustration)
Credit: NASA/DOE

Happy Anniversary to Fermi

June 11, 2018, marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope, named in honor of the great physicist Enrico Fermi. Fermi, as it's commonly called, scans the entire sky approximately every 3 hours looking for mysterious cosmic sources of high-energy gamma ray emission. These sources include black holes, neutron stars and other compact objects, stars and the Sun, bursts of gamma rays which are observed to occur every few days (most of which herald the birth of a new black hole in the Universe) and even gamma ray flashes produced by thunderstorms in earth's atmosphere. Fermi has produced many breakthrough results. Probably the two most notable are the giant Fermi Bubbles around the Milky Way, observed by Fermi's Large Area Telescope, and the detection of gamma rays from the famous neutron star merger, GW170817 = GRB 170817A, observed by Fermi's Gamma-ray Burst Monitor, which, for the first time, connected electromagnetic and gravitational wave emission from a cosmic source. Fermi has accumulated beautiful, time-resolved maps of the gamma-ray sources in the entire Universe, and these data are available for anyone to view and interpret. The science community looks forward with great anticipation to Fermi's future discoveries in the high-energy realm.
Published: June 11, 2018

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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Monday, 11-Jun-2018 11:39:58 EDT