The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope was launched from the Kennedy Space Center on June 11, 2008. The verification phase was completed on August 11, 2008, and Fermi is now in nominal science operations. Since then, the Fermi-LAT collaboration has published several hundred papers on the high energy phenomenology of the transient and steady sky.
Fermi has two gamma-ray instruments: the Large Area Telescope (LAT) and the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM). The LAT is a wide-field gamma-ray telescope (covering from ~30 MeV to ~300 GeV). From the start of regular observations, LAT scans the sky, providing all-sky coverage every two orbits, and accumulating integration time in all directions. LAT observations may also be interrupted by target of opportunity observations, follow up of GRB, or pointed observations. The GBM is an all-sky monitor (10 keV - 25 MeV) that detects transient events such as occultations and gamma-ray bursts.
The PI is P. Michelson (SLAC & Stanford), earlier leading a constructing consortium of 5 nations and currently a scientific consortium of 13 (including Spain). Our institute is the only institute in Spain with full members in the Fermi-LAT collaboration (since 2007, before launch). We are devoted to the study of the high-energy Galactic sky, focusing on binaries and the pulsar/pulsar-wind nebula/supernova remnant complex.
As members of the collaboration we have participated in the day-to-day running of the experiment, and conducted a variety of tasks such as being Internal referees for papers, participating in Committees / meetings / thinkshops / collaboration meetings / etc. and helped in preparations for several NASA Senior Science Reviews
We have also had the following technical involvement
- Definition of mock population for data challenges
- Development of algorithms for source class identification
- Acted as Flare advocates & daily running checks (similar to an observational shift, a couple per year)
- Participated on the On-orbit calibration & development of responses
- Validation of the time-difference analysis technique for radio-quiet pulsars
Highlights of our the Institute's contribution to the mission include leading the collaboration work when publishing Fermi's first paper on SNR observations, or the first ever detection of orbital GeV variability, or the first search for magnetar emission in gamma-rays, or the first detection of starburst galaxies, among many others.
Fermi has passed the NASA Astrophysics Senior Review in 2016, thus we approach a decade of temporal baseline for gamma-ray research.
From the report, we read
"Fermi, the only space born GeV gamma-ray astrophysics observatory world wide, has exciting potential for multi-messenger astrophysics and provides unmatched capabilities for time domain astronomy and astroparticle physics. Fermi represents the only significant access to three decades of the GeV gamma-ray sky for many years to come. If the operation of the LAT can be maintained into the era when CTA is operating, it could provide the additional spectral and temporal coverage essential to understanding a huge number of new TeV sources, which are mostly variable"... as well as it is crucial in... "confirming and identifying gravitational wave sources via temporal coincidences and refined positions."
"Fermi can continue for up to a dozen years. The permanent loss of an instrument is devastating when compared to the potential scientific yields enabled by its long natural lifespan."
This confirms the excellent health of the mission, and the expected continuance of the high-level output this experiment is providing. Fermi has reached the 400+ papers published in 2016, and passed the impact factor of having an h-parameter equal to 61.
A Search for Transitions between States in Redbacks and Black Widows Using Seven Years of Fermi-LAT Observations
Torres, Diego F.; Ji, Long; Li, Jian; Papitto, Alessandro; Rea, Nanda; de Oña Wilhelmi, Emma; Zhang, Shu
Gamma-ray Upper Limits on Magnetars with Six Years of Fermi-LAT Observations
Li, Jian; Rea, Nanda; Torres, Diego F.; de Oña-Wilhelmi, Emma
The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 835, Issue 1,
Search for Gamma-Ray Emission from AE Aquarii with Seven Years of Fermi-LAT Observations
Li, Jian; Torres, Diego F.; Rea, Nanda; de Oña Wilhelmi, Emma; Papitto, Alessandro; Hou, Xian; Mauche, Christopher W.
The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 832, Issue 1, article id. 35 (2016)
Gamma-ray Emission from PSR J0007+7303 Using Seven Years of Fermi Large Area Telescope Observations
Li, Jian; Torres, Diego F.; de Oña Wilhelmi, Emma; Rea, Nanda; Martin, Jonatan
The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 831, Issue 1, article id. 19, (2016)
SAX J1808.4-3658, an accreting millisecond pulsar shining in gamma rays?
de Oña Wilhelmi, E.; Papitto, A.; Li, J.; Rea, N.; Torres, D. F.; Burderi, L.; Di Salvo, T.; Iaria, R.; Riggio, A.; Sanna, A.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 456, Issue 3, p.2647-2653 (2016)
Senior Institute members involved
D. F. Torres
, N. Rea, E. de Oña