FERMI Space Telescope

Austin Scheetz and Travis Pfingston

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Location

  • Low Earth orbit.
  • Fermi orbits the Earth once every 96 minutes.
  • The location of the observatory is great because it is free from all light pollution and atmospheric distortion.

Operation

  • Observation through the Fermi telescope allows astronomers to detect high frequency waves through space that were previously invisible to man, giving insights into pulsar activity, gamma activity, and even dark matter.
  • The telescope scans for evidence of dark matter and other universes, researching their possible existence.
  • It is essential that the telescope scan a very large portion of the sky because gamma-ray bursts are very focused and can come from all directions. The telescope was designed accordingly.
  • The telescope works by using conducting sheets of silicon that filter out cosmic rays and interact with gamma rays to produce a signal.
  • Fermi was built with considerations given to protection from the Sun as well as debris.
  • The telescope is solar powered, allowing it to stay in space for a very long time and power its equipment.

Equipment

  • There are two components to the Fermi observatory, the Large Area Telescope (LAT) and the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM).
  • Both telescopes detect gamma radiation and use it to produce imaging that gives the appearance of astronomical bodies.
  • The LAT has a field of view of around 20% of the sky, while the GBM can detect short gamma bursts of the entire sky not blocked by the Earth.


History

  • The telescope was launched on June 11, 2008 with a planned mission of ten years, half of which has been completed.
  • The telescope is named after Enrico Fermi, an Italian physicist renowned for his work in particle physics.


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Major Discoveries

  • Fermi discovered cosmic rays radiating from a supernova and proved that supernovae speed up cosmic rays and shoot them out into the universe.
  • Discovered a massive (50,000 light years wide) structure at the center of the galaxy that is possibly a remnant of a black hole.
  • The telescope discovered antimatter (regular particles with an opposite charge) being generated in thunderstorms.