Research > Black Holes, High Energy Astrophysics, and Ultrahigh Energy Cosmic Rays

High Energy Astrophysics is concerned with the study of cosmic sources of high energy photons (gamma-rays, X-rays and extreme UV), cosmic rays and neutrinos. Theoretical research focuses on the physics of black holes and neutron stars and the behavior and radiative properties of relativistic plasma surrounding and accelerated by them. The astrophysical phenomena studied include gamma-ray bursts, active galactic nuclei, supernovae and their remnants, pulsars, X-ray binaries and quasars. Due to the opaqueness of the Earth's atmosphere at high energies, photons from these objects require satellites for their detection, including NASA's currently operating SWIFT, and GLAST (the last of NASA's "great observatories") scheduled for launch in early 2008, which promise to yield important new discoveries. Active research areas at CCPP include pulsar electrodynamics, relativistic shock dynamics and stability, black hole oscillations and accretion, and the central engine for gamma-ray bursts and supernovae.

The next generation of cosmic ray telescopes will have far greater statistics and better resolution and will find whether the spectrum of ultrahigh energy cosmic rays continues to ever higher energies. If the resolution in direction and energy can be made good enough, it will usher in a new era of using cosmic rays as an astrophysical tool. By identifying the sources of the cosmic rays we will learn about the astrophysical systems or exotic particles which produce them. There are hints that the magnetic fields field in the halo of our galaxy and between galaxies - where they are very difficult to measure - may be much larger than previously imagined; by studying the UHECR correlations in detail we believe it will be possible to measure these fields. NYU is a leading center of research in developing better techniques to identify the primary particle and reconstruct its energy and direction, and in addressing astrophysical questions with UHECR data.

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