And the winner is …
… the second catalog of Fermi-LAT sources, called 2FGL (Nolan et al 2012, ApJS 199, 31). This is the publication that has attracted the largest number of citations among every astronomical articles published in the world in 2012! Together, the three successive 0FGL, 1FGL and 2FGL catalogs that identify gamma sources in the sky discovered by the Fermi space telescope since 2008 have been quoted almost 1000 times (ADS). This is a great reward for the French researchers of the Fermi-LAT collaboration, who coordinated the creation of these catalogs.
The last catalog records 1873 sources which emits high-energy gamma rays between 100 MeV and 100 GeV precisely. It includes a large number of supermassive black holes, buried in the heart of distant galaxies and throwing powerful jets of matter in our direction (blazars) or elsewhere (radio galaxies). There are also neutron stars rapidly rotating whose light brushes sweep the Earth at every turn (pulsars). The catalog also identifies several supernova remnants, galaxies caracterized by a high star formation rate, globular clusters, binary stars and a large number of objects whose nature remains unknown. The common point of all these sources is their ability to accelerate particles to considerable energies, often exceeding those achieved in terrestrial accelerators. The 2FGL catalog reveals that these accelerators are omnipresent in the Universe, and that the particles they propel shape the surrounding environment.
The NASA Fermi satellite was launched in 2008 and continues to probe the sky. A new and deeper catalog is already in preparation.
The team of Isabelle Grenier, Jean Ballet and Jean-Marc Casandjian at the AIM (CEA Saclay / IRFU) has established the chain analysis which helped identify the sources and characterize their properties from the two early years of observations, benefiting from the expertise of Philip Bruel and Stephen Fegan at the LLR (Polytechnique) on the instrument and the softwares. The team of Jürgen Knödlseder at IRAP (Toulouse) has sought associations with sources of other wavelengths in order to identify their nature and to identify new classes of gamma emitters. The team of Benoit Lott and David Smith at the CENBG (Bordeaux) has coordinated the related studies on blazars and pulsars. These teams and their activities are financially supported by their institutes (CEA / IRFU, Paris-Diderot, CNRS / INSU, CNRS/IN2P3) and by the CNES.
- Jürgen Knödlseder, CNRS/INSU/UPS : Jurgen.Knodlseder@irap.omp.eu