Study of Nature's Extreme Particle Accelerators at Tera-eV (10^12eV) Gamma-Ray Energies with Hess and other Telescopes
Address the origin of gamma-ray emission as well as learning new information about the type of particles accelerated to extreme energies and where they are accelerated.
The High Energy Stereoscopic System (HESS) detects gamma-rays at TeV (1012 eV) energies and above, and has made significant contributions to our understanding of the high energy Universe. Over 100 sources of TeV gamma-ray emission have been discovered, most of them with HESS. The types of sources include shell-type supernova remnants, pulsar powered nebulae, compact X-ray binary systems, molecular clouds, radio galaxies and jet-powered active galaxies.
There are opportunities to study extended sources which may include supernova remnants, pulsar nebulae, star formation regions and also mysterious unidentified sources, as well as searching for transient/bursting sources in HESS data. There may be an emphasis on improving the performance of HESS at gamma-ray energies well above 10 TeV.
Comparison with images from other energies (radio, X-ray, low energy gamma-rays and neutrinos) may also be performed with a particular emphasis on radio data used to survey interstellar gas clouds (we use the Mopra radio telescope in Australia for this purpose).
Students will gain experience in data analysis algorithms using a variety of computer languages such as C, C++, Perl and Fortran within the Linux/Unix operating system as well as specific software packages dealing with astronomical images (such as miriad, ftools, ds9 etc.).