Recent Advances in Gamma Ray Astrophysics and Future Perspectives

A special issue of Universe (ISSN 2218-1997). This special issue belongs to the section "Space Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2024) | Viewed by 12126

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Guest Editor
National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) – Brera Astronomical Observatory, 20121 Merate, Italy
Interests: high-energy astrophysics; X-ray binaries; high-mass X-ray binaries; supergiant fast X-ray transients; active galactic nuclei; narrow-line seyfert 1 galaxies; gamma-ray bursts; X-ray and gamma-ray astrophysical instrumentation; multi-wavelength observational astrophysics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent decades, a variety of sources have been discovered for gamma-ray astrophysics above a few tens of GeV up to the PeV regime.While in the TeV energy band, we only have a few hundred sources, at lower energies, we have now started population studies thanks to the relatively high number (a few thousands) of both galactic and extragalactic gamma-ray emitters.

Gamma-ray sources not only show transient, periodic, flaring or steady emission levels but could be detected almost across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, making them excellent targets for multifrequency studies.

The present Special Issue aims to host several contributions (both theoretical and observational) dealing with diverse aspects related to the frontiers in gamma-ray research. Potential topics include but are not limited to:

  • Gamma-ray bursts;
  • Accreting binaries;
  • Supernova remnants;
  • Active galactic nuclei;
  • Transients;
  • Ground-based instrumentation for gamma-ray astrophysics;
  • Space-based instrumentation for gamma-ray astrophysics;
  • Software and infrastructure for gamma-ray astrophysics.

Dr. Patrizia Romano
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • gamma-ray astrophysics
  • gamma-ray binaries
  • gamma-ray bursts
  • supernovae remnants
  • active galactic nuclei
  • transients
  • gamma-ray instrumentation

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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4 pages, 178 KiB  
Editorial
Editorial to the Special Issue: “Recent Advances in Gamma Ray Astrophysics and Future Perspectives”
by Patrizia Romano
Universe 2024, 10(5), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/universe10050213 - 10 May 2024
Viewed by 506
Abstract
This Special Issue is a collection of reviews highlighting the recent progress in the very vast and closely related fields of γ-ray astrophysics and astro-particle physics in recent years, looking toward a very promising future [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Gamma Ray Astrophysics and Future Perspectives)

Research

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22 pages, 1637 KiB  
Article
The Power of Relativistic Jets: A Comparative Study
by Luigi Foschini, Benedetta Dalla Barba, Merja Tornikoski, Heinz Andernach, Paola Marziani, Alan P. Marscher, Svetlana G. Jorstad, Emilia Järvelä, Sonia Antón and Elena Dalla Bontà
Universe 2024, 10(4), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/universe10040156 - 27 Mar 2024
Viewed by 860
Abstract
We present the results of a comparison between different methods to estimate the power of relativistic jets from active galactic nuclei (AGN). We selected a sample of 32 objects (21 flat-spectrum radio quasars, 7 BL Lacertae objects, 2 misaligned AGN, and 2 changing-look [...] Read more.
We present the results of a comparison between different methods to estimate the power of relativistic jets from active galactic nuclei (AGN). We selected a sample of 32 objects (21 flat-spectrum radio quasars, 7 BL Lacertae objects, 2 misaligned AGN, and 2 changing-look AGN) from the very large baseline array (VLBA) observations at 43 GHz of the Boston University blazar program. We then calculated the total, radiative, and kinetic jet power from both radio and high-energy gamma-ray observations, and compared the values. We found an excellent agreement between the radiative power calculated by using the Blandford and Königl model with 37 or 43 GHz data and the values derived from the high-energy γ-ray luminosity. The agreement is still acceptable if 15 GHz data are used, although with a larger dispersion, but it improves if we use a constant fraction of the γ-ray luminosity. We found a good agreement also for the kinetic power calculated with the Blandford and Königl model with 15 GHz data and the value from the extended radio emission. We also propose some easy-to-use equations to estimate the jet power. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Gamma Ray Astrophysics and Future Perspectives)
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Review

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19 pages, 7408 KiB  
Review
Supernova Remnants in Gamma Rays
by Andrea Giuliani and Martina Cardillo
Universe 2024, 10(5), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/universe10050203 - 1 May 2024
Viewed by 660
Abstract
In the 1960s, the remnants of supernova explosions (SNRs) were indicated as a possible source of galactic cosmic rays through the Diffusive Shock Acceleration (DSA) mechanism. Since then, the observation of gamma-ray emission from relativistic ions in these objects has been one of [...] Read more.
In the 1960s, the remnants of supernova explosions (SNRs) were indicated as a possible source of galactic cosmic rays through the Diffusive Shock Acceleration (DSA) mechanism. Since then, the observation of gamma-ray emission from relativistic ions in these objects has been one of the main goals of high-energy astrophysics. A few dozen SNRs have been detected at GeV and TeV photon energies in the last two decades. However, these observations have shown a complex phenomenology that is not easy to reduce to the standard paradigm based on DSA acceleration. Although the understanding of these objects has greatly increased, and their nature as efficient electron and proton accelerators has been observed, it remains to be clarified whether these objects are the main contributors to galactic cosmic rays. Here, we review the observations of γ-ray emission from SNRs and the perspectives for the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Gamma Ray Astrophysics and Future Perspectives)
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30 pages, 31917 KiB  
Review
Future Perspectives for Gamma-ray Burst Detection from Space
by Enrico Bozzo, Lorenzo Amati, Wayne Baumgartner, Tzu-Ching Chang, Bertrand Cordier, Nicolas De Angelis, Akihiro Doi, Marco Feroci, Cynthia Froning, Jessica Gaskin, Adam Goldstein, Diego Götz, Jon E. Grove, Sylvain Guiriec, Margarita Hernanz, C. Michelle Hui, Peter Jenke, Daniel Kocevski, Merlin Kole, Chryssa Kouveliotou, Thomas Maccarone, Mark L. McConnell, Hideo Matsuhara, Paul O’Brien, Nicolas Produit, Paul S. Ray, Peter Roming, Andrea Santangelo, Michael Seiffert, Hui Sun, Alexander van der Horst, Peter Veres, Jianyan Wei, Nicholas White, Colleen Wilson-Hodge, Daisuke Yonetoku, Weimin Yuan and Shuang-Nan Zhangadd Show full author list remove Hide full author list
Universe 2024, 10(4), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/universe10040187 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 744
Abstract
Since their first discovery in the late 1960s, gamma-ray bursts have attracted an exponentially growing interest from the international community due to their central role in the most highly debated open questions of the modern research of astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, and fundamental physics. [...] Read more.
Since their first discovery in the late 1960s, gamma-ray bursts have attracted an exponentially growing interest from the international community due to their central role in the most highly debated open questions of the modern research of astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, and fundamental physics. These range from the intimate nuclear composition of high-density material within the core of ultra-dense neuron stars, to stellar evolution via the collapse of massive stars, the production and propagation of gravitational waves, as well as the exploration of the early universe by unveiling the first stars and galaxies (assessing also their evolution and cosmic re-ionization). GRBs in the past ∼50 years have stimulated the development of cutting-edge technological instruments for observations of high-energy celestial sources from space, leading to the launch and successful operations of many different scientific missions (several of them still in data-taking mode currently). In this review, we provide a brief description of the GRB-dedicated missions from space being designed and developed for the future. The list of these projects, not meant to be exhaustive, shall serve as a reference to interested readers to understand what is likely to come next to lead the further development of GRB research and the associated phenomenology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Gamma Ray Astrophysics and Future Perspectives)
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35 pages, 7875 KiB  
Review
A Very-High-Energy Gamma-Ray View of the Transient Sky
by Alessandro Carosi and Alicia López-Oramas
Universe 2024, 10(4), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/universe10040163 - 29 Mar 2024
Viewed by 983
Abstract
The development of the latest generation of Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes (IACTs) over recent decades has led to the discovery of new extreme astrophysical phenomena in the very-high-energy (VHE, E > 100 GeV) gamma-ray regime. Time-domain and multi-messenger astronomy are inevitably connected to [...] Read more.
The development of the latest generation of Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes (IACTs) over recent decades has led to the discovery of new extreme astrophysical phenomena in the very-high-energy (VHE, E > 100 GeV) gamma-ray regime. Time-domain and multi-messenger astronomy are inevitably connected to the physics of transient VHE emitters, which show unexpected (and mostly unpredictable) flaring or exploding episodes at different timescales. These transients often share the physical processes responsible for the production of the gamma-ray emission, through cosmic-ray acceleration, magnetic reconnection, jet production and/or outflows, and shocks interactions. In this review, we present an up-to-date overview of the VHE transients field, spanning from novae to supernovae, neutrino counterparts or fast radio bursts, among others, and we outline the expectations for future facilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Gamma Ray Astrophysics and Future Perspectives)
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29 pages, 3630 KiB  
Review
Scientific Highlights of the AGILE Gamma-ray Mission
by Stefano Vercellone, Carlotta Pittori and Marco Tavani
Universe 2024, 10(4), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/universe10040153 - 25 Mar 2024
Viewed by 926
Abstract
The γ-ray sky above a few tens of megaelectronvolts (MeV) reveals some of the most powerful and energetic phenomena of our Universe. The Astrorivelatore Gamma ad Immagini LEggero (AGILE) Gamma-ray Mission was launched in 2007 with the aim of observing celestial sources [...] Read more.
The γ-ray sky above a few tens of megaelectronvolts (MeV) reveals some of the most powerful and energetic phenomena of our Universe. The Astrorivelatore Gamma ad Immagini LEggero (AGILE) Gamma-ray Mission was launched in 2007 with the aim of observing celestial sources by means of three instruments covering a wide range of energies, from hard X-rays up to 30 GeV. Thanks to its wide field of view, AGILE set to observe and detect emission from pulsars, pulsar wind nebulae, gamma-ray bursts, active galactic nuclei, fast radio bursts, terrestrial gamma-ray flashes, and the electromagnetic counterparts of neutrinos and gravitational waves. In particular, the fast on-ground processing and analysis chain allowed the AGILE team to promptly respond to transient events, and activate or participate in multiwavelength observing campaigns. Eventually, after 17 years of operations, the AGILE Italian scientific satellite re-entered the atmosphere on 14 February 2024, ending its intense activity as a hunter of some of the most energetic cosmic sources in the Universe that emit X and γ-rays. We will review the most relevant AGILE results to date and their impact on the advancements of theoretical models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Gamma Ray Astrophysics and Future Perspectives)
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20 pages, 4360 KiB  
Review
The ASTRI Mini-Array: A New Pathfinder for Imaging Cherenkov Telescope Arrays
by Salvatore Scuderi
Universe 2024, 10(3), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/universe10030146 - 16 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1199
Abstract
The ASTRI Mini-Array is an Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) project to build and operate an array of nine Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes (IACTs) at the Teide Astronomical Observatory of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias in Tenerife (Spain) based on a host [...] Read more.
The ASTRI Mini-Array is an Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) project to build and operate an array of nine Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes (IACTs) at the Teide Astronomical Observatory of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias in Tenerife (Spain) based on a host agreement with INAF and, as such, it will be the largest IACT array until the Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory starts operations. Implementing the ASTRI Mini-Array poses several challenges from technical, logistic, and management points of view. Starting from the description of the innovative technologies adopted to build the telescopes, we will discuss the solutions adopted to overcome these challenges, making the ASTRI Mini-Array a great instrument to perform deep observations of the galactic and extra-galactic sky at very high energies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Gamma Ray Astrophysics and Future Perspectives)
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17 pages, 2369 KiB  
Review
Science with the ASTRI Mini-Array: From Experiment to Open Observatory
by Stefano Vercellone
Universe 2024, 10(2), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/universe10020094 - 16 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1084
Abstract
Although celestial sources emitting in the few tens of GeV up to a few TeV are being investigated by imaging atmospheric Čerenkov telescope arrays such as H.E.S.S., MAGIC, and VERITAS, at higher energies, up to PeV, more suitable instrumentation is required to detect [...] Read more.
Although celestial sources emitting in the few tens of GeV up to a few TeV are being investigated by imaging atmospheric Čerenkov telescope arrays such as H.E.S.S., MAGIC, and VERITAS, at higher energies, up to PeV, more suitable instrumentation is required to detect ultra-high-energy photons, such as extensive air shower arrays, as HAWC, LHAASO, Tibet AS-γ. The Italian National Institute for Astrophysics has recently become the leader of an international project, the ASTRI Mini-Array, with the aim of installing and operating an array of nine dual-mirror Čerenkov telescopes at the Observatorio del Teide in Spain starting in 2025. The ASTRI Mini-Array is expected to span a wide range of energies (1–200 TeV), with a large field of view (about 10 degrees) and an angular and energy resolution of ∼3 arcmin and ∼10 %, respectively. The first four years of operations will be dedicated to the exploitation of Core Science, with a small and selected number of pointings with the goal of addressing some of the fundamental questions on the origin of cosmic rays, cosmology, and fundamental physics, the time-domain astrophysics and non γ-ray studies (e.g., stellar intensity interferometry and direct measurements of cosmic rays). Subsequently, four more years will be dedicated to Observatory Science, open to the scientific community through the submission of observational proposals selected on a competitive basis. In this paper, I will review the Core Science topics and provide examples of possible Observatory Science cases, taking into account the synergies with current and upcoming observational facilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Gamma Ray Astrophysics and Future Perspectives)
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21 pages, 5327 KiB  
Review
Highlights of the Magic Florian Goebel Telescopes in the Study of Active Galactic Nuclei
by Marina Manganaro and Dijana Dominis Prester
Universe 2024, 10(2), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/universe10020080 - 6 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1132
Abstract
The MAGIC (Major Atmospheric Gamma-ray Imaging Cherenkov) Florian Goebel telescopes are a system of two Cherenkov telescopes located on the Canary island of La Palma (Spain), at the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory, which have been operating in stereo mode since 2009. Their [...] Read more.
The MAGIC (Major Atmospheric Gamma-ray Imaging Cherenkov) Florian Goebel telescopes are a system of two Cherenkov telescopes located on the Canary island of La Palma (Spain), at the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory, which have been operating in stereo mode since 2009. Their low energy threshold (down to 15 GeV) allows the investigation of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs) in the very-high-energy (VHE, E > 100 GeV) gamma-ray range with a sensitivity up to the redshift limit of the existing IACT (Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes) systems. The MAGIC telescopes discovered 36 extragalactic objects emitting VHE gamma-rays and performed comprehensive studies of galaxies and their AGNs, also in a multi-wavelength (MWL) and multi-messenger (MM) context, expanding the knowledge of our Universe. Here, we report on the highlights achieved by the MAGIC collaboration since the beginning of their operations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Gamma Ray Astrophysics and Future Perspectives)
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32 pages, 454 KiB  
Review
Gamma-ray Bursts: 50 Years and Counting!
by Alessandro Armando Vigliano and Francesco Longo
Universe 2024, 10(2), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/universe10020057 - 26 Jan 2024
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1408
Abstract
Gamma-ray bursts were discovered by the Vela satellites in the late 1960s, but they were announced for the first time exactly 50 years ago, in 1973. The history of our understanding of gamma-ray bursts can be subdivided into several eras. We will highlight [...] Read more.
Gamma-ray bursts were discovered by the Vela satellites in the late 1960s, but they were announced for the first time exactly 50 years ago, in 1973. The history of our understanding of gamma-ray bursts can be subdivided into several eras. We will highlight the main discoveries about GRBs, as well as the path toward the future that each GRB era could still indicate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Gamma Ray Astrophysics and Future Perspectives)
41 pages, 669 KiB  
Review
Gamma-ray Emission and Variability Processes in High-Energy-Peaked BL Lacertae Objects
by Bidzina Kapanadze
Universe 2023, 9(7), 344; https://doi.org/10.3390/universe9070344 - 24 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1279
Abstract
BL Lac objects are active galactic nuclei notable for a beamed nonthermal radiation, which is generated in one of the relativistic jets forming a small angle to the observer’s line-of-sight. The broadband spectra of BL Lacs show a two-component spectral energy distribution (SED). [...] Read more.
BL Lac objects are active galactic nuclei notable for a beamed nonthermal radiation, which is generated in one of the relativistic jets forming a small angle to the observer’s line-of-sight. The broadband spectra of BL Lacs show a two-component spectral energy distribution (SED). High-energy-peaked BL Lacs (HBLs) exhibit their lower-energy (synchrotron) peaks at UV to X-ray frequencies. The origin of the higher-energy SED component, representing the γ-ray range in HBLs, is still controversial and different emission scenarios (one- and multi-zone synchrotron self-Compton, hadronic etc.) are proposed. In γ-rays, HBLs show a complex flaring behavior with rapid and large-amplitude TeV-band variations on timescales down to a few minutes. This review presents a detailed characterization of the hypothetical emission mechanisms which could contribute to the γ-ray emission, their application to the nearby TeV-detected HBLs, successes in the broadband SED modeling and difficulties in the interpretation of the observational data. I also overview the unstable processes to be responsible for the observed γ-ray variability and particle energization up to millions of Lorentz factors (relativistic shocks, magnetic reconnection, turbulence and jet-star interaction). Finally, the future prospects for solving the persisting problems by means of the dedicated gamma-ray observations and sophisticated simulations are also addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Gamma Ray Astrophysics and Future Perspectives)
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