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The Fermi Large Area Telescope

The Fermi Large Area Telescope (Fermi-LAT) is a gamma-ray experiment installed on the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. It takes data since 2008 and detects photons in the energy range between 30 mega-electronvolts (MeV) and 300 giga-electronvolts (GeV).


Artist concept of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Credits: NASA


In contrast to ground-based experiments, the Fermi-LAT has a very large field of view: at any moment of time it can see approximately 20% of the sky. In survey mode, it covers the whole sky in two orbits around the Earth, which takes about 3 hours.

Large field of view and almost continuous monitoring of the whole sky make it an ideal instrument to study both constant sources as well as flaring and burst-like sources, such as flairs of supermassive black holes in other galaxies, gamma-ray bursts, and solar flairs.

Fermi-LAT has detected thousands of gamma-ray sources in our Galaxy and beyond. Most of the sources are active galactic nuclei, which are supermassive black holes that accrete matter and emit a jet pointing towards us. LAT has detected more than 200 pulsars in our Galaxy, which significantly improved our understanding of the physics of these fascinating objects (the previous gamma-ray telescope, EGRET, detected only 6). Fermi-LAT has also made some unexpected discoveries, such as the gamma-ray emission from novae.

Apart from the observation of point sources, Fermi-LAT has made an exquisite measurement of the diffuse gamma-ray emission, most of which comes from interactions of Galactic cosmic rays with interstellar gas and radiation fields. There are surprise discoveries in the diffuse emission as well, such as the huge bubbles above and below the Galactic center and the excess of gamma-ray emission near the Galactic center itself.

Fermi project:

Fermi-LAT at ECAP

At ECAP we work on diffuse gamma-ray data analysis and interpretation of the large-scale emission components, such as the Fermi bubbles and the Galactic center excess. We also work on data-driven methods for point source analysis, such as the wavelet transform.

If you are interested in a Bachelor or Master thesis with our Fermi-LAT group, please contact: