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  • NASA'S Swift Survey Finds 'Smoking Gun' Of Black Hole Activation

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Speaker: Dr. Regina Caputo (GSFC) & Dr. Carolyn Kierans (GSFC)
Date:  Friday, April 15 2022
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location:  1136 PSC, UMD Campus


AMEGO-X Mission Concept - Dr. Regina Caputo

Gamma-ray and multimessenger astrophysics are frontiers for discovery and uniquely provide access to the extreme processes that sculpt the universe. As a priority theme of the Astro2020 Decadal Survey report: New Messengers New Physics, this science is poised to revolutionize our understanding of the extreme universe. Data from NASA’s Fermi mission demonstrated that the extreme processes that produce gravitational waves and accelerate neutrinos and cosmic rays also produce gamma rays. In other words, multimessenger sources are gamma-ray sources. Now is the time to develop a powerful mission to fill these critical capability gaps revealed by Fermi and fully capitalize on this exciting new era of multimessenger astrophysics. 

The All-sky Medium Energy Gamma-ray Observatory eXplorer (AMEGO-X) is the next logical mission after Fermi. During its three-year baseline mission, AMEGO-X will observe nearly the entire sky every two orbits, building up a sensitive all-sky map of gamma-ray sources and emission. It will also access >50% (<10 MeV) and >20% (>10 MeV) of the sky instantaneously, maximizing transient detections and rapid alerts, openly distributed to the astrophysics communities. As a result, AMEGO-X will deliver breakthrough discoveries for a MIDEX class in areas highlighted as the highest scientific priority for Explorer-scale missions in the Astro2020 Decadal Survey Report: gravitational waves, multimessenger astrophysics and time-domain astronomy. This talk presents an overview of the science, instrument, and mission that was submitted in the recent 2021 NASA MIDEX Announcement of Opportunity.

Exploring the MeV Sky with COSI - Dr. Carolyn Kierans

The Compton Spectrometer and Imager (COSI) is a soft gamma-ray telescope that was recently selected to be NASA’s next SMEX mission with a launch in 2025. COSI is designed to uncover the source of Galactic positrons, image diffuse emission from stellar nucleosynthesis, and perform polarization studies of gamma-ray bursts and compact objects. With unprecedented sensitivity in the MeV range, COSI is expected to provide advances in multimessenger astrophysics and reveal other sources of gamma-ray emission. In this presentation we will give an overview of COSI’s main science goals and discuss the telescope technology and maturation path through its successful balloon program.

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