The launch of the gamma-ray satellite GLAST on June 11 from Cape Canaveral, in Florida, marked the end of a 16-years long period of designing, construction and preparation, and the start of the most exciting phase: the analysis and interpretation of data. As the satellite goes through commissioning (see some event displays here) the first scientific results are flowing in.
There are big expectations for what GLAST will be able to do. In particular, the community working on extensions of the Standard Model of Particle Physics, hopes to find some hints for the existence of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles, or WIMPs, which are among the favorite candidates to explain the Dark Matter (DM).
With its unprecedented sensitivity and its very large energy range (20 MeV to more than 300 GeV) the main instrument on board the GLAST satellite, the Large Area Telescope (LAT), the LAT might in fact be able to detect an indirect DM signature for a large class of WIMP models.
Our group has studied the prospects for indirect detection of WIMP DM with a variety of different strategies, including gamma-rays and synchrotron emission from the Galactic center, DM clumps and Intermediate Mass Black Holes.
Image above: The Delta II rocket carrying the GLAST spacecraft lifts off
(NASA/Jerry Cannon, Robert Murray)