Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope

2014 News

Dec 3, 2014

Short- and Long-Term Changes to Fermi Observations

For the last year Fermi has been performing a modified observing strategy where inertially pointed observations, to increase exposure around the Galactic center, have been interleaved with sky survey observations. Starting on 2014 December 4, Fermi will return to routinely performing only sky survey observations, with alternate orbits having Fermi rocked north and south of the zenith. Short term changes to this mode may still occur in response to targets of opportunity.
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Oct 21, 2014

NASA's Fermi Satellite Finds Hints of Starquakes in Magnetar 'Storm'

NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected a rapid-fire "storm" of high-energy blasts from a highly magnetized neutron star, also called a magnetar, on Jan. 22, 2009. Now astronomers analyzing this data have discovered underlying signals related to seismic waves rippling throughout the magnetar.
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Jul 31, 2014

NASA's Fermi Space Telescope Reveals New Source of Gamma Rays

Observations by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope of several stellar eruptions, called novae, firmly establish these relatively common outbursts almost always produce gamma rays, the most energetic form of light.
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Jul 22, 2014

NASA's Fermi Finds A 'Transformer' Pulsar

In late June 2013, an exceptional binary containing a rapidly spinning neutron star underwent a dramatic change in behavior never before observed. The pulsar's radio beacon vanished, while at the same time the system brightened fivefold in gamma rays, the most powerful form of light, according to measurements by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.
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Jul 10, 2014

Temporary Disruption of GBM Data Delivery

A planned outage at the National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) in Huntsville over the weekend of 12-13 July will result in delayed delivery of some GBM data products. A backup pipeline will be in place by noon EDT Friday 11. GRB alerts and localization notices should be broadcast through the GRB Coordinates Network without extra latency but refined localization products and GRB response file delivery may be delayed. Trigger CTIME, CSPEC, and TTE data products will be produced by the backup pipeline but daily CTIME, CSPEC, and position history files will not. Operations at NSSTC should be nominal on July 14 at which time the missing data products will be delivered to the FSSC.

Jun 24, 2014

Cycle-7 Stage-I Proposal Selections

NASA Headquarters has completed the stage-I selection process for the Fermi Cycle-7 Guest Investigator program. A list of the proposal titles, abstracts and PIs is now posted on this web site.

Jun 4, 2014

New Fermi Science Tools Released (v9r33p0)

The FSSC is pleased to announce the availability of a new version of the Fermi Science Tools (v9r33p0) released on June 3. This includes support for the CALDB, plotting in the non-ROOT version of the tools and a new tool gtburst. Details can be found here. The LAT team have released an updated model of Galactic diffuse emission (gll_iem_v05_rev1.fit), and made corresponding updates to the photon data. All users of LAT data should update their analysis to use the new model.

Jun 3, 2014

Black Hole 'Batteries' Keep Blazars Going and Going

Astronomers studying two classes of black-hole-powered galaxies monitored by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have found evidence that they represent different sides of the same cosmic coin. By unraveling how these objects, called blazars, are distributed throughout the universe, the scientists suggest that apparently distinctive properties defining each class more likely reflect a change in the way the galaxies extract energy from their central black holes.
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May 22, 2014

Violent Gamma-Ray Outbursts Near Supermassive Black Holes

Joint Fermi and radio observations allow the origin of gamma-ray flares in the nuclear regions of active galaxies to be localized. New insights regarding the long-standing problem of the localization of luminous gamma-ray flares in AGN jets have become possible recently, thanks to intensive, multi-frequency radio observations of a sample of Fermi blazars . An international team of astronomers led by Lars Fuhrmann published the results of their campaign in a recent issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society which place the emission site at parsec scale distances outside of the broad-line region.
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Apr 24, 2014

Fermi Observing Mode Change

On Thursday, April 24th, Fermi returned to a survey mode that provides more uniform coverage over the entire sky. This observing mode, the same one that has been in place for the majority of the mission, allows the observatory to improve exposure during the period surrounding the periastron passage of the pulsar B1259-63. For information about Fermi observations of the previous periastron event, click here.

Apr 23, 2014

Gamma-Ray Burst Localizations

The Fermi Science Support Center and the GBM team are pleased to announce the availability of new data products related to the localization of Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs). In addition to the positions on the sky and their 68% confidence level statistical errors, communicated via notices from the GRB Coordinates Network (GCN), probability maps incorporating the total error on the final, best localization will be delivered. These products a may be available as soon as 30 minutes following the GRB trigger. A description of the data products is given in the README file in these quicklook directories, e.g., README.

Apr 3, 2014

Fermi Data Tantalize With New Clues To Dark Matter

A new study of gamma-ray light from the center of our galaxy makes the strongest case to date that some of this emission may arise from dark matter, an unknown substance making up most of the material universe. Using publicly available data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, independent scientists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Chicago have developed new maps showing that the galactic center produces more high-energy gamma rays than can be explained by known sources and that this excess emission is consistent with some forms of dark matter.
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Feb 25, 2014

Second GBM Catalog of Gamma-Ray Bursts Available in HEASARC Browse

The Fermi Science Support Center and the GBM Team are pleased to announce the availability of the second GBM catalog of Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) in the HEASARC browse interface. The catalog will soon appear in the Astrophysical Journal (Supplement Series). This catalog is in two parts: a general description (A. von Kienlin et al., http://arxiv.org/abs/1401.5080) and a spectral analysis (D. Gruber et al., http://arxiv.org/abs/1401.5069). The general catalog includes 953 GRBs that triggered GBM between 2008-07-12 and 2012-07-11. The spectral catalog reports spectral analyses of 943 GRBs, including revised analyses of the GRBs in the first catalog, from 2008-07-12 to 2010-07-11. Data from these catalogs are now available at the HEASARC in searchable tables via the Browse interface.

Feb 20, 2014

With A Deadly Embrace, 'Spidery' Pulsars Consume Their Mates

Black widow spiders and their Australian cousins, known as redbacks, are notorious for their tainted love, expressed as an unsettling tendency to kill and devour their male partners. Astronomers have noted similar behavior among two rare breeds of binary system that contain rapidly spinning neutron stars, also known as pulsars.
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Jan 24, 2014

NASA Spacecraft Take Aim At Nearby Supernova

An exceptionally close stellar explosion discovered on Jan. 21 has become the focus of observatories around and above the globe, including several NASA spacecraft. The blast, designated SN 2014J, occurred in the galaxy M82 and lies only about 12 million light-years away. This makes it the nearest optical supernova in two decades and potentially the closest type Ia supernova to occur during the life of currently operating space missions.
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Jan 14, 2013

Reminder: Cycle-7 GI Proposals are due on January 31, 2014

Proposals to participate in the Fermi Cycle-7 Guest Investigator Program are due by 16:30 EST January 31, 2014. For additional details and instructions on how to propose please refer to the Proposals page of the FSSC web site and to the Fermi Amendment to the 2013 ROSES NRA which is hosted by the NSPIRES web facility. We strongly encourage prospective proposers who have not already done so to review these documents as there are several changes to the program relative to past mission cycles.

Jan 6, 2014

NASA's Fermi Makes First Gamma-ray Study of a Gravitational Lens

An international team of astronomers, using NASA's Fermi observatory, has made the first-ever gamma-ray measurements of a gravitational lens, a kind of natural telescope formed when a rare cosmic alignment allows the gravity of a massive object to bend and amplify light from a more distant source.
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