Astrophysics

Fermi GBM

STI Personnel: Dr. Bill Paciesas, Dr. Adam Goldstein, Mr. Bill Cleveland, Dr. Corinne Fletcher

Image:  Artist rendition of colliding neutron stars

The Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM), operating in low-Earth orbit, continuously observes 2/3 of the sky in gamma rays.  It regularly detects cosmological gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and disseminates rapid alerts to telescopes all over the world.  The joint detection of the binary neutron star merger GW170817 by GBM and the gravitational-wave detectors LIGO and Virgo in 2017 has led to an increased interest in GBM observations.  Over the last year, many improvements to operations have been made to better serve the broad interests of the community.  GBM now produces continuous data faster to the public, provides more accurate localizations of GRBs on the sky, and the GBM Team has improved the sensitivity of its sub-threshold searches, looking for weak GRB signals once the data has been downlinked to the ground.  The GBM Team, through a special data-sharing agreement with LIGO and Virgo, utilize these improved sub-threshold searches to look for signals in GBM data that correspond to weak signals in the gravitational-wave data.  The sub-threshold searches are also used to search for counterparts to astrophysical neutrinos, fast radio bursts, and very high energy transient alerts produced by other telescopes.

Sky map of the localization for a binary neutron star alert from LIGO/VIRGO
 

Figure caption: Sky map of the localization (green) for a binary neutron star alert from LIGO/VIRGO in April 2019. The blue circle is the region of the sky occulted by the Earth for Fermi. Fermi GBM is unique in that it can observe ~2/3 of the sky instantaneously in gamma rays. Figure Credit Adam Goldstein.

Chandra

STI Personnel:  Dr. Doug Swartz, Dr. Chien-Ting Chen, Dr. Linda Parker

Other Programs Supported:

  • IXPE

  • X-ray Astronomy Calibration and Test