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High-Energy Astrophysics

by Fulvio Melia Princeton University Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 392 pages
AU$196.00 NZ$201.74
Product Status: Not Our Publication - we no longer distribute
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& Academics:
High-energy astrophysics involves the study of exceedingly dynamic and energetic phenomena occurring near the most extreme celestial objects known to exist, such as black holes, neutron stars, white dwarfs, and supernova remnants. High-Energy Astrophysics provides graduate and advanced undergraduate students with the most complete, self-contained introduction to the subject available. This textbook covers all the essentials, weaving together the latest theory with the experimental techniques, instrumentation, and observational methods astronomers use to study high-energy radiation from space.

Fulvio Melia introduces topics at the forefront of today's research, including relativistic particles, energetic radiation, and accretion disk theory. No other textbook offers such a thorough yet concise treatment of the key aspects of high-energy astrophysics--both theoretical and observational--or delves as deeply into modern detection techniques, satellite systems, and analytical and numerical modeling used by theoreticians. Amply illustrated, High-Energy Astrophysics is also ideal for researchers interested in the application of fundamental physical laws to understand how matter and radiation behave in regions of the universe where physical conditions are most extreme.

Uniquely weaves together the theoretical and experimental aspects of this important branch of astronomy
Features stunning images of the high-energy sky
Fully describes the principal classes of high-energy sources, with an in-depth study of many archetypal objects within them
Provides an excellent, self-contained resource for the classroom, written by a preeminent researcher and teacher in the field

''A splendid resource for students and researchers wanting a physics-based overview of the extraordinary findings of X-ray, gamma-ray, and cosmic-ray astronomy. The key properties of accreting black holes, gamma-ray bursts, pulsars, magnetars, galaxy clusters, and the many other fantastic denizens of the high-energy universe are highlighted, along with the tools and methods used to investigate them.''--Niel Brandt, Pennsylvania State University

''The introductory graduate literature available in high-energy astrophysics has not kept up with the field's explosion in breadth and impact. This ambitious and badly needed text ably surveys the field, covering an impressive range of topics while still providing good physical insight. The many illustrations, references for further study, and discussions of modern topics like theoretical computer simulations should make this book attractive to students and professors alike.''--Paolo Coppi, Yale University

''This is a very carefully constructed book and one that has been needed in our field for many years. Melia writes clearly, and the topics include most of the major ones that should be covered. Indeed, this is a book I would likely use in my high-energy astrophysics course here at Harvard.''--Jonathan E. Grindlay, Harvard University

Preface ix

Chapter 1: Introduction and Motivation 1

1.1 The Field of High-Energy Astrophysics 1

1.2 Energies, Luminosities, and Timescales 3

1.3 Atmospheric Absorption 8

1.4 Experimental Tools of High-Energy Astrophysics 12

1.5 High-Energy Telescopes 23

Chapter 2: The High-Energy Sky 31

2.1 X-ray Maps Up to 10 keV 32

2.2 The Sky Between 10 keV and 1MeV 34

2.3 Surveys up to 30MeV 36

2.4 The Highest Energy Maps Produced in Earth Orbit 36

Chapter 3: Relativity 39

3.1 Special Relativity 39

3.2 Relativistic Transformation of Physical Laws 48

3.3 General Relativity 51

3.4 Static Spacetimes 56

Chapter 4: Particle Acceleration 67

4.1 Gravity 67

4.2 Electromagnetic Fields 70

4.3 Fermi Acceleration 76

Chapter 5: Radiative Processes 84

5.1 The Radiation Field 84

5.2 Intensity 89

5.3 Thermal Bremsstrahlung 91

5.4 Single-Particle Synchrotron Emissivity 96

5.5 Thermal Synchrotron 107

5.6 Nonthermal Synchrotron 108

5.7 Compton Scattering 111

Chapter 6: Accretion of Plasma 118

6.1 Hydrodynamics 118

6.2 Bondi-Hoyle Accretion 123

6.3 Roche Lobe Geometry in Binaries and Accretion from a Companion Star 130

6.4 Formation of a Disk 134

Chapter 7: Accretion Disk Theory 137

7.1 Viscosity and Radial Disk Structure 137

7.2 Standard Thin-Disk Theory 139

7.3 Accretion Columns 153

7.4 Two-Temperature Thin Disks 158

Chapter 8: Thick Accretion Disks 164

8.1 Thick-Disk Structure 165

8.2 Radiatively Inefficient Flows 169

Chapter 9: Pulsing Sources 182

9.1 Radio Pulsars 182

9.2 X-ray Pulsars 195

9.3 Cataclysmic Variables 199

Chapter 10: Black Holes in Binaries 210

10.1 Early Discovery of Black Holes 211

10.2 The Archetypal HMXB Cygnus X-1 217

10.3 X-ray Novae 223

10.4 QPOs in Black-Hole Binaries 226

Chapter 11: Bursting Stars 233

11.1 X-ray Burst Sources 233

11.2 Gamma-Ray Burst Sources 240

Chapter 12: Supermassive Black Holes 259

12.1 Their Discovery and Identification 259

12.2 Nearby Objects 270

12.3 Supermassive Black Holes in AGNs 285

Chapter 13: The High-Energy Background 303

13.1 Cosmic Rays 303

13.2 Galaxy Clusters 312

13.3 Diffuse Emission 316

Bibliography 327

Index 351

"The well-written work provides an excellent balance between relevant graduate physics and observational summaries of key high-energy astrophysical phenomena, such as pulsars, black holes, and active galactic nuclei. The explanations are lucid and concise, and the mathematical detail is well suited to the intended audience, primarily graduate students in astrophysics."
Fulvio Melia is professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Arizona and associate editor of the Astrophysical Journal Letters. Fulvio Melia was educated at Melbourne University, Australia and is a Professorial Fellow in the School of Physics.