Swift Science Center Italian site Italian site U.S. site U.S. site U.K. site U.K. site

The Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission

ASI Swift Scientific Page (Italian)

Swift is a MIDEX Gamma Ray Burst mission led by NASA with participation of Italy and the UK. The Swift data are available to the scientific community through data centers in the USA, Italy and the UK.

Italy contributes to the mission providing:

  • The XRT X-ray mirror
  • The Malindi ground station
  • XRT data reduction and analysis software

The ASI Science Data Center (ASDC) contributes to the mission providing:

Swift & GRB in a Nutshell

Swift is mission dedicated to the observations of Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) but also lot of challenging non-GRB science has been performed. GRBs are the most powerful explosions the Universe has seen since the Big Bang. They occur approximately once per day and are brief, but intense flashes of gamma radiation. They come from all different directions of the sky and last from a few milliseconds to a few hundred seconds. So far scientists do not know what causes them. Do they signal the birth of a black hole in a massive stellar explosion? Are they the product of the collision of two neutron stars? Or is it some other exotic phenomenon that causes these bursts?

With Swift, launched on Nov 20th, 2004, scientists now have a tool dedicated to answering these questions and solving the gamma-ray burst mystery, with an ability to scrutinize these sources like never before. Swift relays a burst's location to ground stations within seconds after the burst onset, allowing both ground-based and space-based telescopes around the world the opportunity to observe the burst's afterglow.

Three instruments are on board Swift:

During the first four years of the mission, Swift triggered hundreds of bursts with the BAT (with an average rate of about 90 GRB per year), representing the most comprehensive study so far of GRBs and their afterglows.






An artist rendering of the Swift satellite catching a Gamma-ray Burst
Swift Satellite Artist Rendering

Latest Swift News
(Oct 28, 2015) Swift catches its 1000th Gamma-ray Burst!
(Jan 13, 2015) New release of the ASDC Swift/UVOT on-line imaging tool
(Oct 09, 2012) Swift discovers a new black hole in our Galaxy
(April 11, 2011) Swift discovers puzzling cosmic gamma-ray source
(May 13, 2010) Swift discovered a long gamma-ray burst GRB 100513A at z~4.8
(April 19, 2010) Swift catches its 500th Gamma-ray Burst!
(April 13, 2010) Swift discovered a long gamma-ray burst GRB 100431A
(March 19, 2010) Swift discovers a new Soft Gamma Repeater SGR 1833-0832