The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope
Fermi NASA homepage
The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope ( formerly GLAST) is a powerful space observatory, characterized by huge leap in all key capabilities,
working to unveil the mysteries of the high-energy universe that has been discovered to be surprisingly dynamic and diverse.
This space mission studies energetic gamma-rays, observing physical processes far beyond the capabilities of earthbound laboratories,
and opening a wide energy window on the universe. Fermi's main instrument, the Large Area Telescope (LAT),
operates more like a particle detector than a conventional telescope.
From within its 1.8-meter cube housing, the LAT uses 880000
silicon microstrip detectors to detect high-energy gamma rays with unprecedented resolution and sensitivity, filling in gaps in understanding
left by previous missions, and pushing new boundaries in gamma-ray astrophysics, multifrequency astrophysics and astroparticle physics.
Fermi space satellite observes the entire sky mainly in survey mode. All the high-energy gamma-ray sky is scanned every 3 hours in a wide
energy range (10 keV - 300 GeV) with unprecedented sensibility, performances and all-sky temporal monitoring.
To explore this energy band,
Fermi employs two instruments:
Fermi was launched from Kennedy Space Center
on June 11, 2008. The observatory checkout phase completed on August 11, 2008
and is now in nominal science operations. Fermi
resides in a low-earth circular orbit (550 km altitude), at a 28.5 degree
inclination. The mission was designed for a 5-year prime phase, with a goal
of 10 years of operations. The NASA Senior Review Committee recommended funding at the desired level of augmentation to provide for full operations through
2014 with an extension through 2016 subject to a second review.
The Fermi LAT scientific collaboration includes presently more than 400 scientists and students at more than 90 universities and laboratories in 12 countries.
In order to maximize the scientific return of the Fermi mission and the level of international cooperation is important to study gamma-ray photons from cosmic sources in
conjunction to simultaneous data obtained from ground-based and space-borne observatories and instruments operating in other electromagnetic wavebands.
The LAT collaboration has published papers on calibration and analysis methods,
gamma-ray source catalogs, pulsars, supermassive black-hole systems and jets, active galactic nuclei, gamma-ray bursts, cosmic-ray electrons,
energetic binary star systems and novae, diffuse gamma-ray emission, molecular
clouds, supernova remnants, origin of cosmic rays, sources in globular
clusters, solar flares and emission from other solar system bodies,
terrestrial gamma-ray flashes, unidentified sources, searches for signals of
dark matter and new physics and other scientific subjects.
The Fermi mission is an astrophysics and particle physics partnership, developed by
NASA in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy, along with important
contributions from academic institutions and partners in France, Germany,
Italy, Japan, Sweden, and the United States.
- Explore the most extreme environments in the Universe, where
nature harnesses energies far beyond anything possible on Earth
- Search for signs of new laws of physics and what composes the
mysterious Dark Matter.
- Explain how black holes accelerate immense jets of material
to nearly light speed.
- Help crack the mysteries of the stupendously powerful
explosions known as gamma-ray bursts.
- Answer long-standing questions across a broad range of
topics, including solar flares, pulsars and the origin of cosmic
ASDC is contributing to the mission by:
- Establishing and maintaining a mirror data archive of the LAT
- Participating in development and
maintaining of quick-look analysis interfaces at the ISOC-SLAC LAT
instrument operation center.
- Participating in the support and development of the Fermi LAT data analysis
software within the LAT collaboration.
- Participating to scientific investigations and activities of
the LAT science groups (mainly AGN, GRB,
source catalog science groups).
- Developing and making available the software for the
publication of LAT catalogs and the distribution of high level data
products through the web.
- Participating to the release,
analysis, publication, distribution and maintaining of Fermi
gamma-ray source catalogs.
- Providing support and tutorials of instrumental and data
reduction methods to the Italian community.
- Collecting multifrequency archives and data
simultaneous to LAT observations (mostly AGN sources).
- Coordinating and participating to the duty
service shifts of Flare Advocate, Burst Advocate and Data Quality
- Developing online tools and interfaces at ASDC
for basic and high level visualization, exploration and analysis of
Fermi and multifrequency data.
- Exploring, exploiting and
analyzing the collected Fermi LAT data, also in connection to the other
multifrequency data and multi-mission tools provided by the ASDC.
- Building and setting international science and technical
collaborations in the frame of the Fermi mission, participating to
conferences communicating science results and tools/services offered
by the ASDC center, participating to public outreach activities for
the mission, the center and Institutions, organizing science
seminars, conferences and other material/events.
Fermi mission awarded with Bruno Rossi prize in 2011:
"The 2011 Rossi Prize is awarded to Bill Atwood, Peter Michelson, and the
Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope LAT Team for enabling, through the development
of the Large Area Telescope (LAT), new insights into neutron stars, supernova
remnants, cosmic rays, binary systems, active galactic nuclei, and gamma-ray
LAT Collaboration: The Fermi LAT collaboration is
supported in both the development and the operation of the LAT as well as scientific data
analysis by a number of agencies and institutes. These include the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA) and the Department of Energy (DoE) in the United States, the Commissariat
à l'Energie Atomique and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique / Institut National de Physique
Nuclèaire et de Physique des Particules in France, the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana
(ASI) and the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare in Italy, the Ministry of Education,
Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), High Energy Accelerator Research
Organization (KEK) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in Japan, and
the K.A. Wallenberg Foundation, the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish National Space Board in Sweden. Additional support for science analysis during the operations phase is gratefully
acknowledged from the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) in Italy and the Centre National
d' 'Etudes Spatiales in France. Italy participated to the instrumental part thanks to expertise of INFN supplying
16 (+2 spare) towers that constitute the LAT tracker, and is participating thanks to the services, tools and
analyses of the ASI ASDC like a centre of storage, distribution, quicklook online analysis
and exploitation of the data of the mission. In exchange for these contributions Italy
is obtaining a copy of the Fermi science data archive.
* Other Fermi web catalogs available at the
menù link above "Fermi Catalogs @ASDC".