Fermi Stories

Image of the Fermi e-book cover

Explore the Universe with the First E-Book from NASA’s Fermi

4 min read

To commemorate a milestone anniversary for NASA’s Fermi spacecraft, the mission team has published an e-book called “Our High-Energy Universe: 15 Years with the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.” Readers can download the e-book in PDF and EPUB formats. The e-book…

Article3 months ago
The Pinwheel galaxy (M101) as imaged by the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, with SN 2023ixf circled.

NASA’s Fermi Mission Sees No Gamma Rays from Nearby Supernova

5 min read

A nearby supernova in 2023 offered astrophysicists an excellent opportunity to test ideas about how these types of explosions boost particles, called cosmic rays, to near light-speed. But surprisingly, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected none of the high-energy gamma-ray…

Article3 months ago

How NASA Chases and Investigates Bright Cosmic Blips

9 min read

Stephen Lesage’s phone started vibrating just after halftime on Oct. 9, 2022, while he was watching a soccer game in Atlanta with a friend. When Lesage saw the incoming messages, the match no longer seemed important. There had been a…

Article6 months ago
Artist's concept of gamma ray sky with dipole marked in magenta

NASA’s Fermi Detects Surprise Gamma-Ray Feature Beyond Our Galaxy

5 min read

Astronomers analyzing 13 years of data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have found an unexpected and as yet unexplained feature outside of our galaxy. “It is a completely serendipitous discovery,” said Alexander Kashlinsky, a cosmologist at the University of…

Article6 months ago
Thumbnail for gamma-ray time-lapse

NASA’s Fermi Mission Creates 14-Year Time-Lapse of the Gamma-Ray Sky

4 min read

The cosmos comes alive in an all-sky time-lapse movie made from 14 years of data acquired by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Our Sun, occasionally flaring into prominence, serenely traces a path through the sky against the backdrop of high-energy…

Article7 months ago
A binary system containing a pulsar that sometimes disrupts the stream coming from its companion star, which changes the type of emission it produces.

NASA’s Fermi Mission Nets 300 Gamma-Ray Pulsars … and Counting

7 min read

A new catalog produced by a French-led international team of astronomers shows that NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has discovered 294 gamma-ray-emitting pulsars, while another 34 suspects await confirmation. This is 27 times the number known before the mission launched…

Article8 months ago
Two neutron stars begin to merge in this artist’s concept, blasting jets of high-speed particles. Collision events like this one create short gamma-ray bursts. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/ A. Simonnet, Sonoma State University

Gamma-ray Bursts: Harvesting Knowledge From the Universe’s Most Powerful Explosions

7 min read

The most powerful events in the known universe – gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) – are short-lived outbursts of the highest-energy light. They can erupt with a quintillion (a 10 followed by 18 zeros) times the luminosity of our Sun. Now thought…

Article8 months ago

NASA’s Webb Makes First Detection of Heavy Element From Star Merger

6 min read

Webb’s study of the second-brightest gamma-ray burst ever seen reveals tellurium. A team of scientists has used multiple space and ground-based telescopes, including NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, and NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, to…

Article9 months ago
This image depicts a gamma-ray burst caused by the merger of two neutron stars. The merger creates gravitational waves (shown as pale arcs rippling outward) being created following the merger of two neutron stars, a near-light-speed jet that produced gamma rays (shown as brown cones and a rapidly traveling magenta glow erupting from the center of the collision), and a donut-shaped ring of expanding blue debris around the center of the explosion. A variety of colors represent the wavelengths of light produced by the kilonova, creating violet to blue-white to red bursts above and below the collision.

Gamma-Ray Bursts: Black Hole Birth Announcements

4 min read

Gamma-ray bursts are the brightest, most violent explosions in the universe, but they can be surprisingly tricky to detect. Our eyes can’t see them because they are tuned to just a limited portion of the types of light that exist,…

Article1 year ago

NASA Looks Back at 50 Years of Gamma-Ray Burst Science

9 min read

Fifty years ago, on June 1, 1973, astronomers around the world were introduced to a powerful and perplexing new phenomenon called GRBs (gamma-ray bursts). Today sensors on orbiting satellites like NASA’s Swift and Fermi missions detect a GRB somewhere in…

Article1 year ago