GLAST is now known as Fermi

Not long ago in June, GLAST, a space telescope designed to look at gamma-rays was launched.

NASA/Sonoma State University/Aurore SimonnetA few days ago, NASA announced that GLAST has been renamed the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. The new name honours Enrico Fermi (1901-1954), a pioneer in high-energy physics.

Enrico Fermi was an Italian physicist who later became an American citizen. He is most noted for his work on the development of the first nuclear reactor and for his major contributions to the development of quantum theory, nuclear and particle physics, and statistical mechanics. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1938 for his work on induced radioactivity and is today regarded as one of the top scientists of the 20th century.

After two months testing and calibrating its two instruments – the Large Area Telescope (LAT) and the GLAST Burst Monitor (GBM) – Fermi has seen first light and returned an all-sky image showing the glowing gas of the Milky Way, blinking pulsars, and a flaring galaxy billions of light-years away.

NASA/DOE/International LAT Team

The image above shows gas and dust in the plane of our Milky Way as well as pulsars and active galaxy known as blazar. The pulsars seen here are from the familiar Crab Nebula, the Vela and Geminga pulsars. The fourth bright spot in the image lies far beyond our galaxy – a blazar known as 3C454.3 in Pegasus that lies about 7.1 billion light-years away.

The spacecraft’s secondary instrument, the GBM, spotted 31 gamma-ray bursts in its first month of operations. These high-energy blasts occur when massive stars die or when orbiting neutron stars spiral together and merge. The GBM is sensitive to less energetic gamma rays than the LAT. Bursts seen by both instruments will provide an unprecedented look across a broad gamma-ray spectrum, enabling scientists to peer into the processes powering these events.

Source: NASA News Release


~ by thChieh on August 29, 2008.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: