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The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope: April 18 Lecture with NASA’s Dr. Julie McEnery

Blazars, pulsars, gamma-ray bursts, dark matter, behind-the-limb solar flares, black holes, micro black holes, Fermi bubbles, and antimatter!  The Science, Technology and Business Division’s NASA/Goddard lecture series begins its eleventh season with “The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope:  Opening a Window on the Extreme Universe.”  Julie McEnery, Fermi Project Scientist and an astrophysicist in the Astroparticle Physics Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, will take the audience on a journey of the energetic Universe from their seats in the Pickford Theater, James Madison Building, on Tuesday, April 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (FGST), which launched in June 2008, has provided its team all kinds of marvelous discoveries, and major improvements to methods for processing the observations have yielded an expanded, higher-quality set of data that has allowed astronomers to develop the most detailed census of the sky ever made at extreme energies.  FGST is an international (France, Italy, Japan, Sweden, U.S.) multi-agency space observatory with two main instruments. The Large Area Telescope (LAT) is the primary instrument which surveys the entire sky every three hours, and the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) is a complementary instrument which studies gamma-ray bursts. The development of the GBM and analysis of its observational data is a collaborative effort between the National Space Science and Technology Center in the U.S. and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Germany.  It can detect gamma-rays at both low and high energies.  The homepage for the Fermi mission is: https://fermi.gsfc.nasa.gov/

Gamma-rays are the highest-energy form of light, with a wavelength less than one tenth of a nanometer, and produced by the universe’s most energetic phenomena.  At least 12 of the sources on the new sky map produce gamma-rays with energies exceeding a trillion times the energy of visible light!

For inquiries about this program, contact Stephanie Marcus at 202-707-1192, or the division office at 202-707-1212.  Individuals requiring accommodations for this event are requested to contact 202-707-6362 or ADA@loc.gov .

The lecture will be later broadcast on the library’s webcast page and YouTube channel “Topics in Science” playlist.

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