NASA's newest observatory, the Gamma-Ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST), has begun its mission of exploring the universe in high-energy gamma rays. The spacecraft and its revolutionary instruments passed their orbital checkout with flying colors. NASA announced today that GLAST has been renamed the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. The new name honors Prof. Enrico Fermi (1901 - 1954), a pioneer in high-energy physics. Scientists expect Fermi will discover many new pulsars in our own galaxy, reveal powerful processes near supermassive black holes at the cores of thousands of active galaxies across, and enable a search for signs of new physical laws.
Astronomers wrapped the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope's first all-sky map over a sphere to produce this view of the gamma-ray universe. The globe in this animation rotates showing the galactic plane and the north galactic pole, then tilts up to show the south galactic pole region.
Gas and dust in the plane of the Milky Way glows in gamma rays thanks to collisions with accelerated nuclei called cosmic rays. The famous Crab Nebula and Vela pulsars also shine brightly at these wavelengths. This animated close-up shows the Vela pulsar, which beams radiation every 89 milliseconds as it spins. The pulses are shown slowed down by a factor of 20.
This all-sky image shows bright emission in the plane of the Milky Way (center), bright pulsars, and supermassive black holes. The map combines 95 hours of the LAT instrument's "first light" observations.
GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 188.8.131.52.0