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Physics and Astronomy

Physics & Astronomy Colloquium

3:30 PM, Friday, April 2, 2010
Room 155, Chem-Phys Building

Dr. Toby Burnett
Department of Physics
University of Washington, Seattle

" A new window on the Universe: results from the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope's first year and a half''

The Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope now has a year and a half of data, having collected some 15 million photons with measured energies from 30 MeV up to 1 TeV, with nearly uniform coverage over the entire sky. This represents an enormous increase in precision and sensitivity over previous data sets. I will review what we have already learned and hope to learn, in terms of understanding the origins of these gamma rays, including pulsars (spinning neutron stars), supermassive black holes responsible for active galactic nuclei and gamma ray bursts. The most copious source of gamma rays is due to interactions of cosmic rays with the material in the galaxy itself, not intrinsically interesting, but vital to understand as it is a background for all the other processes, especially including the search for dark matter (I'll show limits), and possible extra galactic diffuse emission. We believe that we have determined the origin of cosmic rays, which I'll show.

Refreshments will be served in CP 179 at 3:15 PM