Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope
Fermi's GBM Spots Merging Neutron Stars
At 12:41 UT on August 17, 2017, the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) on board NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope automatically triggered on a gamma-ray burst and classified it correctly, just as it does about 240 times per year.  This particular trigger, however, had a unique friend: a near-simultaneous gravitational-wave detection from the LIGO-Virgo global network of interferometers.
At 12:41 UT on August 17, 2017, the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) on board NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope automatically triggered on a gamma-ray burst and classified it correctly, just as it does about 240 times per year. This particular trigger, however, had a unique friend: a near-simultaneous gravitational-wave detection from the LIGO-Virgo global network of interferometers.

These events, which were traced to the same location on the sky, are the first confirmed joint detection of gravitational waves and electromagnetic waves from a single source, marking a watershed moment in astronomy.  The announcement of this joint detection spurred an unprecedented number of gamma-ray, X-ray, optical, infrared, and radio astronomers all over the world to point their telescopes to observe the source.
These events, which were traced to the same location on the sky, are the first confirmed joint detection of gravitational waves and electromagnetic waves from a single source, marking a watershed moment in astronomy. The announcement of this joint detection spurred an unprecedented number of gamma-ray, X-ray, optical, infrared, and radio astronomers all over the world to point their telescopes to observe the source.

» Find Out More
» Read the Fermi-GBM paper (arXiv:1710.05446)
» Read about the astrophysics of the event (arXiv:1710.05834)
» Read about all the multi-wavelength observations (arXiv:1710.05833)

What is Fermi?

General Dynamics C4 Systems - Artist Concept of Fermi The Universe is home to numerous exotic and beautiful phenomena, some of which can generate almost inconceivable amounts of energy. Supermassive black holes, merging neutron stars, streams of hot gas moving close to the speed of light ... these are but a few of the marvels that generate gamma-ray radiation, the most energetic form of radiation, billions of times more energetic than the type of light visible to our eyes. What is happening to produce this much energy? What happens to the surrounding environment near these phenomena? How will studying these energetic objects add to our understanding of the very nature of the Universe and how it behaves?

The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, formerly GLAST, is opening this high-energy world to exploration and helping us answer these questions. With Fermi, astronomers at long last have a superior tool to study how black holes, notorious for pulling matter in, can accelerate jets of gas outward at fantastic speeds. Physicists are able to study subatomic particles at energies far greater than those seen in ground-based particle accelerators. And cosmologists are gaining valuable information about the birth and early evolution of the Universe.

For this unique endeavor, one that brings together the astrophysics and particle physics communities, NASA has teamed up with the U.S. Department of Energy and institutions in France, Germany, Japan, Italy and Sweden. General Dynamics was chosen to build the spacecraft. Fermi was launched June 11, 2008 at 12:05 pm EDT.

Latest News

Oct 16, 2017

Fermi's GBM Spots Merging Neutron Stars

At 12:41 UT on August 17, 2017, the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) on board NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope automatically triggered on a gamma-ray burst and classified it correctly, just as it does about 240 times per year. This particular trigger, however, had a unique friend: a near-simultaneous gravitational-wave detection from the LIGO-Virgo global network of interferometers.
+ Read More

Sep 05, 2017

'Extreme' Telescopes Find the Second-fastest-spinning Pulsar

By following up on mysterious high-energy sources mapped out by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, the Netherlands-based Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) radio telescope has identified a pulsar spinning at more than 42,000 revolutions per minute, making it the second-fastest known.
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Jul 18, 2017

Gamma-ray Telescopes Reveal a High-energy Trap in Our Galaxy's Center

A combined analysis of data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.), a ground-based observatory in Namibia, suggests the center of our Milky Way contains a "trap" that concentrates some of the highest-energy cosmic rays, among the fastest particles in the galaxy.
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