High-Energy Astrophysics: Highlights

Fritz Paerels

Due to the range of detection media available, there are now a very wide variety of images for study, such as Supernova Remnants, compact objects in Globular Clusters, star formation regions in both our own and external galaxies, hot gas surrounding other galaxies, details around black holes and so on. It is now possible to see sites of the areas of individual element-concentrations in extended objects. Inside globular clusters, we can see x-ray sources like Pulsars and neutron stars. We are also able to better understand the synthesis of heavy elements, including those involving organic chemistry. Often, the same object appears differently in different wavelengths, though because many objects radiate over a wide wavelength range, there will usually be a few points of similarity to aid identification. Compare these views of the Planetary Nebula NGC6543 in Draco as seen in (left) visual, and (right) X-ray sensitivities.

The interesting band of radiation which is clearly seen in the X-ray view is nowhere to be seen in the visual, which shows that this region is more energetic than the rest of the nebula, and presumably derives ultimately from the very hot white dwarf at the centre, which radiates heavily in the short-wavelength - and therefore high energy - part of the electromagnetic spectrum.