Brian's Einstein@Home Stuff


Fermi Gama-ray Telescope:

The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (FGST), formerly called the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST), is a space observatory being used to perform gamma-ray astronomy observations from low Earth orbit. Its main instrument is the Large Area Telescope (LAT), with which astronomers mostly intend to perform an all-sky survey studying astrophysical and cosmological phenomena such as active galactic nuclei, pulsars, other high-energy sources and dark matter. Another instrument aboard Fermi, the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM; formerly GLAST Burst Monitor), is being used to study gamma-ray bursts.

Fermi was launched in 2008. The mission is a joint venture of NASA, the United States Department of Energy, and government agencies in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Sweden, becoming the most sensitive gamma-ray telescope on orbit.

Many new possibilities and discoveries are anticipated to emerge from this single mission and greatly expand our view of the Universe, including:

  • Neutron stars; [The study of] younger, more energetic pulsars in the Milky Way than ever before so as to broaden our understanding of stars. Study the pulsed emissions of magnetospheres so as to possibly solve how they are produced. Study how pulsars generate winds of interstellar particles.

  • Fundamental physics; Test better than ever before certain established theories of physics, such as whether the speed of light in vacuum remains constant regardless of wavelength. Einstein's general theory of relativity contends that it does, yet some models in quantum mechanics and quantum gravity predict that it may not. Search for gamma rays emanating from former black holes that once exploded, providing yet another potential step toward the unification of quantum mechanics and general relativity. Determine whether photons naturally split into smaller photons, as predicted by quantum mechanics and already achieved under controlled, man-made experimental conditions.

  • Unknown discoveries; Scientists estimate a very high possibility for new scientific discoveries, even revolutionary discoveries, emerging from this single mission.

The Einstein@Home webpage regarding the 'Fermi Gamma-ray Pulsar Search' has a lot more information and answers the following questions:

  • What is a neutron star?

  • What is a pulsar?

  • Why are some pulsars visible in radio waves and others in gamma rays?

  • What kind of data is used by Einstein@Home?

  • Why is it so hard to find gamma-ray pulsars?

  • What is new about the Einstein@Home search for gamma-ray pulsars?

  • Why is it so difficult to find gamma-ray pulsars in binary systems?

  • How does Einstein@Home search for gamma-ray pulsars in binary systems?

  • What happens when your computer discovers a pulsar?

[Click here to find the answers]


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