Figure: The galaxy Centaurus A, which has an active nucleus (Credit: ESO/WFI (Optical); MPIfR/ESO/APEX/A.Weiss et al. (Submillimetre); NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Kraft et al. (X-ray)).

This branch of astronomy studies phenomena that involve velocities close to the speed of light, known as relativistic motions, as well as very elevated gravitational or magnetic fields. This includes cosmic objects such as black holes and neutron stars, and phenomena such as supernova explosions and the merger of two compact objects into a single one. Generally, these studies are carried out in the high-energy extreme of the electromagnetic spectrum, using X-rays and gamma rays, as well as with messengers that are not electromagnetic radiation, such as cosmic rays, neutrinos and gravitational waves. X-rays and gamma rays are absorbed by the atmosphere, such that these observations need to be carried out from satellites and it was not until aerospace industry was developed, after the Second World War, that high-energy astrophysics flourished.

Current work in this area by IRyA researchers includes:

  • Quasars and active galactic nuclei
  • Relativistic jets
  • X-ray binaries
  • Supernovae
  • Pulsars
  • Black holes

Researchers who work directly in this field:


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