February 20, 2009: The first gamma-ray burst to be seen in high-resolution from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is one for the record books. The blast had the greatest total energy, the fastest motions and the highest-energy initial emissions ever seen.
“We were waiting for this one,” said Peter Michelson, the principal investigator on Fermi’s Large Area Telescope (LAT) at Stanford University. “Burst emissions at these energies are still poorly understood, and Fermi is giving us the tools to understand them.”
This explosion, designated GRB 080916C, occurred at 7:13 p.m. EDT on Sept. 15, 2008, in the constellation Carina. This movie compresses about 8 minutes of Fermi LAT observations of GRB 080916C into 6 seconds. Colored dots represent gamma rays of different energies: