Credits by Dana Berry.

Fermi is the first imaging gamma-ray observatory to survey the entire sky every day at high sensitivity. Orbiting the Earth every 95 minutes, Fermi is giving scientists a unique opportunity to learn about the ever-changing Universe at extreme energies.

The Fermi spacecraft was launched into a near-earth orbit on 11 June 2008. The design life of the mission is 5 years and the goal for mission operations is 10 years. It carries two instruments onboard: the Large Area Telescope (LAT) and the GLAST Burst Monitor (GBM) that explore the cosmos in the photon energy range of 8,000 electronvolts (8 keV) to greater than 300 billion electronvolts (300 GeV). An electronvolt is a unit of energy close to that of visible light, so Fermi will catch photons with energies thousands to hundreds of billions of times greater than those we see with our eyes (1 keV = 1,000 eV, 1 MeV = 1,000,000 eV, 1 GeV = 1,000,000,000 eV).

A network of ground based (including the toptical Cassini 152 cm telescope in Loiano, Bologna, and the optical/infrared REM 60 cm telescope in La Silla) and space-based telescopes are working together with Fermi as it opens a window to explore the high-energy Universe.

The core of Fermi’s mission is finding out what gives birth to gamma-rays. They are emitted by objects as nearby as our Sun and Milky Way Galaxy to those as far away as tremendous explosions in the early Universe.

Among the gamma-ray sources the most impressive are Radio Galaxies, active galaxies with an accreting supermassive central black hole. Black holes produce high-energy radiation from the swirling disks of matter falling into them. These black holes also eject stream of matter (the jet) thousands of light-years at very nearly the speed of light. Gamma-rays are associated with the jets.

A small but aggressive group of scientists in our institute pursues the task of disentangle Fermi data in order to identify the mechanism at work in the production of gamma-rays. The final goal being revealing the nature of high energy nuclei of galaxies, the material products of the early universe.

Link suggerito: Tango