Fermi is a NASA mission, with important contributions from Italy, France, Japan and Sweden.  The Italian participation is through INAF, INFN and ASI, which grants financial support to the INAF and INFN research teams and provides data archiving facilities through the ASDC.

Fermi was launched in 2008. The mission has recently passed the last NASA senior review with flying colours and its operational lifetime has been extended till the end of 2019, with the possibility of further extensions. The Fermi satellite has no consumables on board and, technically speaking, can be still operational for the years to come. 

INAF takes part to the operations of the LAT instrument and to the data analysis. The goal of the Fermi ission, which detects photons with energies above a few tens of MeV, is the study of the high-energy sky. Being operated in survey mode, Fermi covers the entire sky every three hours, allowing one to detect and follow-up a variety of transient events, which are typical of the gamma-ray sky. The gamma-ray emission of many active galaxies is strongly variable, as well as that of many other sources in our own Galaxy, whose emission properties are not yet fully understood.

Fermi/LAT has marked a revolution in the field of gamma-ray astronomy, increasing by a factor of ten the number of known gamma-ray sources. Over 3000 gamma-ray sources are listed in the Third Fermi Lat Catalogue, most of which are Active Galactic Nuclei.  In our own Galaxy, pulsars are the most numerous class of identified gamma-ray sources with 250 identifications and counting, half of which are old ms-pulsars, with the rest being more or less equally represented by young radio-loud and radio-quiet pulsars, the latter identified through their gamma-ray emission.  Last but not least, the large LAT field of view makes it especially suited for the follow-up of gravitation wave events.

IASF coordinates the Italian participation to the Fermi mission through the memorandum of understanding with ASI and INAF for the science analysis of the Fermi data and is particularly active in the study of unidentified gamma-ray sources, both through dedicated multi-wavelength campaigns and through predictive methods based on, e.g. neural networks and other machine-learning alghorithms.

Page maintained by Patrizia Caraveo Last modified: 24-4-2019