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High Energy Astrophysics

A subjective introduction


dr hab. Rafał Moderski
associate professor
Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center

A monograph lecture course in the fall term of 2013/2014.

High energy astrophysics is a quite modern and fast evolving field of research. It involves many aspect of physics, astrophysics and astronomy: from special and general relativity, through plasma physics, radiation mechanisms, satellite and ground­based observational techniques, to quantum gravity and dark matter searches. High energy astrophysics is actively developed in Poland where research groups are involved in such international projects as High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.), Major Atmospheric Gamma­ ray Imaging Cherenkov Telescope (MAGIC), or Pierre Auger Observatory.


The course will concentrate on the aspects of production, propagation and detection of high energy electromagnetic radiation. The objective of the lecture is to describe the mechanisms of particle acceleration, mechanisms of production of high energy radiation and to present astrophysical sources of high energy emission. In less detail it will cover the detection techniques and current observatories of gamma­ rays. Some information on cosmic rays and neutrino astronomy will also be given.


Prerequisites: although the lecture is designed as self contained, some knowledge of calculus and algebra is  welcome (differential equations, integrals, tensor calculus) ­ but all the necessary math will be reviewed throughout the course.


General plan of the lectures:
1. Special relativity -  ­ a reminder.
2. Gas processes.
3. Radiation processes.
4. Supernovae and supernova remnants.
5. Pulsars and pulsar wind nebulae.
6. Binary systems and star clusters.
7. Gamma­ ray bursts.
8. Active galactic nuclei.
9. Cosmic rays and neutrinos.
10. Detection technique and instruments.


The lectures will be given every Thursday at 13:15 in the small seminar room at the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center, Bartycka 18, Warsaw.




Lecture presentation files:

1. Introduction (PDF)

2. Special relativity (PDF)

3. Gas processes (PDF)

4. Radiation processes (PDF)

5. Supernovae and supernova remnants (PDF)

6. Pulsars and pulsar wind nebulae (PDF)

7. Compact bnary systems (PDF)

8. Gamma-Ray Bursts (PDF)

9. Active Galactic Nuclei (PDF)

10. Cosmic rays, neutrinos and detection techniques (PDF)