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Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope Spots Most Extreme Gamma-Ray Blast Ever
Retirement Q&A Tuesday
SLAC Today Event Submissions Two Clicks Away

SLAC Today

Monday - February 23, 2009

Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope Spots Most Extreme Gamma-Ray Blast Ever

GRB 080916C's X-ray afterglow appears orange and yellow in this view that merges images from Swift's UltraViolet/Optical and X-ray telescopes. (Image courtesy NASA/Swift/Stefan Immler.)

With the greatest total energy, the fastest motions, and the highest-energy initial emissions ever before seen, a gamma-ray burst recently observed by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is one for the record books. The spectacular blast, which also raises new questions about gamma-ray bursts, was discovered by the FGST's Large Area Telescope, a collaboration among NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science and international partners.

"Burst emissions at these energies are still poorly understood, and Fermi is giving us the tools to figure them out," says Large Area Telescope Principal Investigator Peter Michelson, a Stanford University physics professor affiliated with the DOE's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

The explosion, designated GRB 080916C, occurred at 7:13 p.m. EDT September 15 (after midnight GMT, Sept. 16) in the constellation Carina. FGST's other instrument, the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor, simultaneously recorded the event. Together, the two instruments provide a view of the blast's gamma-ray emission from energies ranging from 3,000 to more than 5 billion times that of visible light.   Read more...

Retirement Q&A Tuesday

Stanford Benefits recently sent SLAC staff members a letter announcing changes to the retirement investment options. For more information, including the reasons why Stanford Benefits is making the changes, and for open question and answer time, all staff are invited to attend a retirement presentation on Tuesday, February 24, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. in Kavli Auditorium.

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