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Latest Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope Stories

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2010-02-11 07:20:00

Instruments scanning outer space for cataclysmic explosions called gamma-ray bursts are detecting intense flashes of gamma-ray energy right here in the friendly skies of Earth. These terrestrial gamma-ray flashes, or TGFs, blast through thunderstorms close to the altitude where commercial airliners fly. In fact, they could be too close for comfort. In a recent study,* scientists estimated that airline passengers could be exposed to 400 chest X-rays worth of radiation by being near the origin...

2010-01-27 12:43:00

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Astronomers studying two exploding stars, or supernovae, have found evidence the blasts received an extra boost from newborn black holes. The supernovae were found to emit jets of particles traveling at more than half the speed of light. (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO ) Previously, the only catastrophic events known to produce such high-speed jets were gamma-ray bursts, the universe's most luminous explosions....

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2010-01-27 12:53:04

Astronomers studying two exploding stars, or supernovae, have found evidence the blasts received an extra boost from newborn black holes. The supernovae were found to emit jets of particles traveling at more than half the speed of light. Previously, the only catastrophic events known to produce such high-speed jets were gamma-ray bursts, the universe's most luminous explosions. Supernovae and the most common type of gamma-ray bursts occur when massive stars run out of nuclear fuel and...

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2010-01-06 08:05:00

Teamwork between gamma-ray and radio astronomers has produced a breakthrough in finding natural cosmic tools needed to make the first direct detections of the long-elusive gravitational waves predicted by Albert Einstein nearly a century ago. An orbiting gamma-ray telescope has pointed radio astronomers to specific locations in the sky where they can discover new millisecond pulsars. Millisecond pulsars, rapidly-spinning superdense neutron stars, can serve as extremely precise and stable...

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2010-01-06 07:05:00

The discovery of seventeen new millisecond pulsars was announced Dec. 5 at the American Astronomical Society Meeting by scientists from the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Space Science Division and a team of international researchers. The pulsars, discovered in radio searches of unidentified gamma-ray sources found with the Large Area Telescope (LAT) onboard NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope satellite represent a substantial increase in the number of known millisecond pulsars...

2010-01-05 13:30:00

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Radio astronomers have uncovered 17 millisecond pulsars in our galaxy by studying unknown high-energy sources detected by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. The astronomers made the discovery in less than three months. Such a jump in the pace of locating these hard-to-find objects holds the promise of using them as a kind of "galactic GPS" to detect gravitational waves passing near Earth. (Logo:...

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2009-12-09 14:50:00

A galaxy located billions of light-years away is commanding the attention of NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and astronomers around the globe. Thanks to a series of flares that began September 15, the galaxy is now the brightest source in the gamma-ray sky -- more than ten times brighter than it was in the summer. Astronomers identify the object as 3C 454.3, an active galaxy located 7.2 billion light-years away in the constellation Pegasus. But even among active galaxies, it's...

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2009-11-30 11:05:00

NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has made the first unambiguous detection of high-energy gamma-rays from an enigmatic binary system known as Cygnus X-3. The system pairs a hot, massive star with a compact object -- either a neutron star or a black hole -- that blasts twin radio-emitting jets of matter into space at more than half the speed of light. Astronomers call these systems microquasars. Their properties -- strong emission across a broad range of wavelengths, rapid brightness...

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2009-11-26 13:55:00

WASHINGTON -- NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has made the first unambiguous detection of high-energy gamma-rays from an enigmatic binary system known as Cygnus X-3. The system pairs a hot, massive star with a compact object -- either a neutron star or a black hole -- that blasts twin radio-emitting jets of matter into space at more than half the speed of light. Astronomers call these systems microquasars. Their properties -- strong emission across a broad range of wavelengths,...

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2009-11-02 14:05:00

Nearby galaxies undergoing a furious pace of star formation also emit lots of gamma rays, say astronomers using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Two so-called "starburst" galaxies, plus a satellite of our own Milky Way galaxy, represent a new category of gamma-ray-emitting objects detected both by Fermi and ground-based observatories. "Starburst galaxies have not been accessible in gamma rays before," said Fermi team member Seth Digel, a physicist at SLAC National Accelerator...