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  • Fermi bubbles.
  • Fermi.

Exploring a high-energy world

NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is a powerful space observatory that opens a wide window on the universe. Gamma rays are the highest-energy form of light, and the gamma-ray sky is spectacularly different from the one we perceive with our own eyes. Fermi enables scientists to answer persistent questions across a broad range of topics, including supermassive black-hole systems, pulsars, the origin of cosmic rays, and searches for signals of new physics.

A NASA Gamma-ray Space Telescope

The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope was launched from the Kennedy Space Center on 11 June 2008. The verification phase was completed on 11 August 2008, and Fermi is now in nominal science operations. Fermi has two gamma-ray instruments: the Large Area Telescope (LAT) -a wide-field gamma-ray telescope (covering from ~30 MeV to ~300 GeV)- and the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM). From the start of regular observations, LAT scans the sky, providing all-sky coverage every two orbits, and accumulating integration time in all directions. LAT observations may also be interrupted by target of opportunity observations, follow up of GRB, or pointed observations. The GBM is an all-sky monitor (10 keV - 25 MeV) that detects transient events such as occultations and gamma-ray bursts.

Fermi all sky image.

ICE-CSIC's participation

The PI is P. Michelson (SLAC & Stanford) lead a constructing consortium of 5 nations and a scientific consortium of 13 (including Spain). ICE-CSIC was the only institute in Spain with full members in the Fermi-LAT collaboration for more than 15 years (since 2007, before launch). We are devoted to the study of the high-energy Galactic sky, focusing on binaries and the pulsar/pulsar-wind nebula/supernova remnant complex.

As members of the collaboration we have participated in the day-to-day running of the experiment, and conducted a variety of tasks such as being Internal referees for papers, participating in Committees / meetings / thinkshops / collaboration meetings / etc. and helped in preparations for several NASA Senior Science Reviews

We have also had the following technical involvement:

  • Definition of mock population for data challenges
  • Development of algorithms for source class identification
  • Acted as Flare advocates & daily running checks (similar to an observational shift, a couple per year)
  • Participated on the On-orbit calibration & development of responses
  • Validation of the time-difference analysis technique for radio-quiet pulsars

Highlights of ICE-CSIC's contribution to the mission include leading the collaboration work when publishing Fermi's first paper on SNR observations, or the first ever detection of orbital  GeV variability, or the first search for magnetar emission in gamma-rays, or the first detection of starburst galaxies, among many others.

Senior institute members involved

Meet the senior researchers who lead our participation in the Fermi mission.


  • Diego F. Torres