Electromagnetic Astrophysics

Electromagnetic radiation is the traditional messenger for astronomy.   Researches at the CRA conduct many different avenues of research involving  astrophysics.

High Energy Astrophysics: A segment of electromagnetic astronomy involves high-energy astrophysics is the study of fundamental physics within the most violent environments imaginable. X-ray and gamma-ray sources are used as laboratories to explore physical processes at temperatures, densities and energies so extreme that Earth-based experiments would be impossible. This type of research can therefore provide direct tests of many of the basic ideas of modern physics.

Cosmology and Galaxy Evolution: The field of cosmology studies the universe in its entirety.  The evolution of galaxies and their central black holes are particularly useful to understand both the relevant cosmological and galactic processes that shape galaxies over billions of years.  The length scales involved in these processes can range from an atomic level, when studying atomic and molecular transitions that are important in star forming gas clouds, to the cosmological scale, where tidal forces from distant galaxies create the initial rotation of a galaxy.

Black holes and neutron stars:  Black holes and neutron stars are the most compact objects in the universe, where matter is packed to very high densities under the relentless force of gravity. They are ideal tools to study gravity at its most extreme as well as a variety of physical processes that often accompany them, such as accretion of gas and energetic interactions with their environment. At the CRA, we currently investigate several key open questions in this area of research over all three messengers of the cosmos (gravitational, electromagnetic and particle).

Theoretical and Computational Astrophysics Network (TCAN): TCAN is focused on the understanding that the cosmological role of SMBHs ultimately requires a detailed study and treatment of the multi-scale physics at work during formation and growth of the most massive SMBHs, as well as the feedback of these SMBHs on galactic structure. We will tackle this ambitious goal through collaborative research that cuts across traditional sub-disciplines of theoretical and computational astrophysics. To do so our network consists of a collaboration of scientists from 3 institutions: The University of Maryland at College Park, Georgia Institute for Technology and Yale University. More details can be found in the TCAN website.