The Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory is a NASA medium explorer (MIDEX) satellite developer by an international partecipation and dedicated to the study of gamma-ray bursts (GRB) science.
On board, Swift has three instruments (BAT, UVOT, XRT) working at different wavelenghts (gamma-ray, X-ray and optical) to observe, for the first time, bursts from the very beginning to the end.
The main mission objectives for Swift are to:
- Determine the origin of gamma-ray bursts
- Classify gamma-ray bursts and search for new types
- Determine how the blastwave evolves and interacts with the surrundings
- Use gamma-ray bursts to study the early universe
- Perform a sensitive survey of the sky in the hard X-ray band
Swift is built to be fast, to swiftly turn and point its instruments at the burst and relay burst location within second: NO SATELLITE POINTS FASTER.
The Brera Astronomical Observatory (INAF-OAB) provided the optics for the X-Ray Telescope (XRT) and built a small rapid reaction automatic optical-infrared telescope, REM, dedicated to monitor the prompt IR/optical afterglow of gamma-ray bursts.