High-Energy Astrophysics

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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
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Winner of the 2009 PROSE Award in Cosmology & Astronomy, Association of American Publishers

"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."Choice

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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691140292
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 1/26/2009
  • Series: Princeton Series in Astrophysics Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 388
  • Sales rank: 1,271,946
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Fulvio Melia is professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Arizona and associate editor of the "Astrophysical Journal Letters". His books include "The Galactic Supermassive Black Hole" (Princeton).
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Table of Contents

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

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    Timely and Beautifully Written

    Though HE astrophysics is a rapidly developing scientific discipline,
    there hasn't yet appeared a modern book written to present the many
    advances being made in this field---until now. Melia's HE Astrophysics
    fills that void with a well-thought out list of topics, including both
    the experimental and theoretical elements of this important branch of
    astronomy and astrophysics. There is probably too much information here
    to cover in a single-semester class, but the student will find it easy
    to read beyond the material assigned to any given course that adopts
    this book, since Melia's writing style is elegant and compact. I found
    it also interesting that the problems and solutions are being
    distributed in a separate volume. No doubt this separation was chosen
    to make it easier for someone other than a student interested in this
    field to read it as a monograph rather than a textbook. All in all,
    this book belongs on the shelves of any serious astronomer or
    astrophysicist, alongside Weinberg's classic book on Gravitation, and
    Rybicki's book on Radiative Processes. Over time, it will become one
    of the most important selections in Princeton's famed astrophysics
    series which, by the way, includes another classic book, Binney's
    Galactic Dynamics.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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