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.
The LAT instrument has resumed collection of science data following an outage on September 17 to recover from a reboot of one of the onboard processors. The LAT was not collecting science data for 11 hours between 9:28 UTC and 20:28 UTC.
Not so long ago, astronomers mapped a galaxy far, far away using radio waves and found it has a strikingly familiar shape. In the process, they discovered the object, called TXS 0128+554, experienced two powerful bouts of activity in the last century.
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The stage-I selection process for the Fermi Cycle-13 Guest Investigator program has been completed. There were a total of 41 new programs selected for stage-I out of 109 proposals submitted. A list of the selected programs, including the PIs, titles and abstracts is available on the FSSC web site.