The observations of the first gravitational wave by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) captured the attention of the world this February, confirming the existence of gravitational waves as well as further confirming Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
The Fermi satellite was launched in 2008 and since then it has continuously monitored the sky at gamma-ray energies above 100 MeV. Most of the sources detected at these energies are blazars, Active Galactic Nuclei in which the accretion onto a supermassive black hole also leads to the launching of two opposite relativistic jets.
On April 27th this year, an e-mail alert was sent around signifying the detection of yet another GRB. Yet this event was like no other challenging all our models.
The Fermi satellite has given us a completely new view of the extreme events in our Universe. And it keeps getting better. Just as we were testing a new form of data analysis, Fermi captured a record breaking gamma-ray burst and delivered results that are difficult to explain with most popular models.
Gamma-ray bursts are the biggest explosions observed in the Universe, and are among the most distant sources that can be seen. The emission we see is probably sent out when a black hole is born. In this catastrophic event matter is shot out almost at light speed in two narrow jets, and if the jet happens to point towards us we see a bright flash of radiation.
Elena Moretti is the first of the about 300 applicants who was selected to become an Oskar Klein Fellow this year. She comes from a little country-side town, called Cartura, on the south of Padua in Italy where she graduated in physics in 2006. She got her PhD in Trieste where she worked with the AGILE and Fermi experiments on GRBs. She developed a method that was used to calculate the flux upper limits on the GRB emission that was used in both experiments.
Maja Llena Garde is a PhD student in the Cosmology, Astroparticle Physics and String Theory group at the Oskar Klein Centre. She is involved in the Fermi-LAT collaboration together with her supervisor Jan Conrad. The Large Area Telescope (LAT) is a space based imaging high-energy gamma-ray telescope launched in orbit in June 2008.
Their recent paper on Dark Matter has attracted some attention, thus we asked Maja to tell us more about it.
The results presented at the III Fermi symposium in Rome reflected, in particular, what a magnificent instrument the Fermi LAT is for observing active galactic nuclei and pulsars. The 2 source catalogue 2FGL was presented and will soon be released with 1888 sources. Much attention was given to the blazar 3C454.3 which has been monitored since the launch and has undergone a series of very bright outbursts.
The Fermi Symposium of 2011 in Rome has now reached its last day and we have heard many interesting talks, ranging all the way from dark matter to various astrophysical sources and observations. The OKC has been very well represented with participants both from the Department of Physics and the Department of Astronomy at Stockholm University and by the KTH group.
Zhaoyu Yang is one of the OKC postdocs, working at both Fermi and Atlas experiments. It so happens that Zhaoyu also shares the office with me at the Elementary Particle Physics group, on the fourth floor, which is why it came natural to me to start by getting to know her better. With this interview we start a series featuring people working at OKC.