Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Cahill, Hameetman Auditorium
Exploring the Extreme Universe with the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope
Julie McEnery, GSFC/Maryland
Following its launch in June 2008, high-energy gamma-ray observations by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have unveiled over 1000 new sources and opened an important and previously unexplored window on a wide variety of phenomena. These have included the discovery of an population of pulsars pulsing only in gamma rays; the detection of photons up to 10s of GeV from gamma-ray bursts, enhancing our understanding of the astrophysics of these powerful explosions; the detection of hundreds of active galaxies; a measurement of the high energy cosmic-ray electron spectrum which may imply the presence of nearby astrophysical particle accelerators; and constraints on phenomena such as supersymmetric dark-matter annihilations and exotic relics from the Big Bang. Continuous monitoring of the high-energy gamma-ray sky has uncovered numerous outbursts from active galaxies and the discovery of transient sources in our galaxy. In this talk I will describe the current status of the Fermi observatory, review the science highlights and discuss future opportunities with Fermi.