Fellesseminar, Aud B kl. 14.00, 19.04.2013:

 

Martino Marisaldi

INAF - IASF, National Institute for Astrophysics, Bologna, Italy

 

The AGILE universe from black holes to lightning: how a "small" satellite

can lead to "big" science.

 

Abstract:

AGILE is a small mission of the Italian Space Agency launched on April 27,

2007, and primarily devoted to high-energy astrophysics. Although its

small dimensions and the overall very stringent constraints, in almost six

years of operation AGILE was able to deliver fundamental results to the

physics of cosmic accelerators, including supermassive black holes at the

center of active galactic nuclei, gamma-ray bursts, microquasars, pulsars

and supernova remnants. This large record of achievements culminated with

the award of the Bruno Rossi Prize by American Astronomical Society for

the discovery of the variability of the Crab pulsar, and the recent

establishment of supernova remnants as the sites for galactic cosmic-ray

acceleration. Moreover, AGILE is observing our own Earth, being one of the

few operative satellites capable of detecting Terrestrial Gamma-ray

Flashes, powerful and very short bursts of radiation coming directly from

cloud tops and associated to thunderstorms and lightning activity. I will

review the main scientific achievements of the AGILE mission, from the

extreme distances of the universe to our restless atmosphere, with

particular emphasis on the key factors that make a small satellite become

a highly successful mission.