High-energy astrophysics

High-energy astrophysics is the study of the processes that occur within stars, black holes and supernovae. These processes can be monitored by measuring the high-energy electromagnetic radiation and particles that they emit including x-rays, ultraviolet light and gamma rays. These observations are supplemented with computer simulations.

Featured

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    A unique merger shock is found in an early phase of two clusters undergoing a major merger, propagating outward along the equatorial plane of the merger. Owing to the rapid approach of the cluster pair, the gas along the merger axis is strongly compressed.

    • Liyi Gu
    • , Hiroki Akamatsu
    • , Timothy W. Shimwell
    • , Huib T. Intema
    • , Reinout J. van Weeren
    • , Francesco de Gasperin
    • , François Mernier
    • , Junjie Mao
    • , Igone Urdampilleta
    • , Jelle de Plaa
    • , Viral Parekh
    • , Huub J. A. Röttgering
    •  & Jelle S. Kaastra
  • Research |

    X-ray observations of the Coma Cluster show enhanced plasma collision rates due to either particle scattering off microfluctuations caused by plasma instabilities or transport processes that are anisotropic with respect to the local magnetic field.

    • I. Zhuravleva
    • , E. Churazov
    • , A. A. Schekochihin
    • , S. W. Allen
    • , A. Vikhlinin
    •  & N. Werner
  • Research |

    A rare type of supernova—triggered by the collapse of a rapidly rotating single star—could have provided more than 80 per cent of the r-process elements in the Universe.

    • Daniel M. Siegel
    • , Jennifer Barnes
    •  & Brian D. Metzger
    Nature 569, 241-244
  • Research |

    The relativistic jets associated with the black-hole X-ray binary system V404 Cygni change their orientation on time scales of minutes to hours, implying that the direction of the jets is being affected by the dynamics of the surrounding accretion flow that powers them.

    • James C. A. Miller-Jones
    • , Alexandra J. Tetarenko
    • , Gregory R. Sivakoff
    • , Matthew J. Middleton
    • , Diego Altamirano
    • , Gemma E. Anderson
    • , Tomaso M. Belloni
    • , Rob P. Fender
    • , Peter G. Jonker
    • , Elmar G. Körding
    • , Hans A. Krimm
    • , Dipankar Maitra
    • , Sera Markoff
    • , Simone Migliari
    • , Kunal P. Mooley
    • , Michael P. Rupen
    • , David M. Russell
    • , Thomas D. Russell
    • , Craig L. Sarazin
    • , Roberto Soria
    •  & Valeriu Tudose
    Nature 569, 374-377
  • Research |

    Observations of an X-ray transient associated with a galaxy at redshift 0.738 suggest that the X-ray transient is powered by a millisecond magnetar and that it is the remnant of a merger between two neutron stars.

    • Y. Q. Xue
    • , X. C. Zheng
    • , Y. Li
    • , W. N. Brandt
    • , B. Zhang
    • , B. Luo
    • , B.-B. Zhang
    • , F. E. Bauer
    • , H. Sun
    • , B. D. Lehmer
    • , X.-F. Wu
    • , G. Yang
    • , X. Kong
    • , J. Y. Li
    • , M. Y. Sun
    • , J.-X. Wang
    •  & F. Vito
    Nature 568, 198-201
  • Research | | open

    Yonetoku relation provides a diagnostic for the radiation mechanism in the prompt phase of gamma-ray burst (GRB) emission. Here, Ito et al. show the reproduction of this relation in 3D hydrodynamical simulations followed by radiative transfer calculations, which suggest the photospheric emission is the dominant component in the prompt phase of GRBs.

    • Hirotaka Ito
    • , Jin Matsumoto
    • , Shigehiro Nagataki
    • , Donald C. Warren
    • , Maxim V. Barkov
    •  & Daisuke Yonetoku

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Since the discovery of the first repeating fast radio burst in 2016, debate has raged over whether it represented a distinct population. With the recent detection of a second repeater using CHIME, the debate is closer to being settled.

    • Emily Petroff
    Nature Astronomy 3, 133-134
  • News and Views |

    The degree of polarization of gamma-ray bursts seems to be lower than previously thought. Gamma-ray polarimetry can reveal the emission mechanism and physical information inside the relativistic jet.

    • Daisuke Yonetoku
    Nature Astronomy 3, 200-201
  • Editorial |

    A careful analysis of data obtained from the IceCube telescope in Antarctica shows that atmospheric neutrinos can be used as a tomographic probe of the Earth.

  • News and Views |

    The stunning discovery image of the spiral dust plumes enshrouding a Wolf–Rayet binary system dubbed Apep provides new trails of evidence that may bring us closer to resolving outstanding questions on the evolution and death of massive stars.

    • Ryan M. Lau
    Nature Astronomy 3, 20-21
  • News and Views |

    An ultrahigh-energy neutrino event detected with the IceCube detector in Antarctica, simultaneous and co-spatial with a multi-wavelength outburst of a blazar about 3 billion light years away, points unambiguously to lepto-hadronic cooling mechanisms in jetted active galactic nuclei.

    • Elena Pian
    Nature Astronomy 3, 24-25