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Physics of accretion and matter ejection

The investigation of accretion onto compact objects and the emergence of relativistic jets can be sub-divided into three areas. The first concerns blazars, in which the jet dominates the system, the second is "non-beamed" X-ray binaries and AGN (Active Galactic Nuclei) where the properties of accretion and jet are closely linked, and the third are binaries containing compact objects. In these fields Italy plays a leading role thanks both to the "Agenzia Spaziale Italiana" satellite AGILE, whose scientific component is represented by INAF and INFN, and collaboration with NASA's FERMI satellite and the Cherenkov telescope MAGIC. Italy also provides an important theoretical and interpretative contribution.

Italy then has a centre-stage role in the study of extragalactic jets, and particularly blazars. From an observational standpoint, the multi-frequency studies of blazars (especially in the radio, optical, X- and gamma-ray bands) are particularly relevant and involve various INAF sites and universities (Insubria, Perugia). Italy has a leadership position in optical monitoring, playing a leading role in the consortium of medium to small telescopes, GASP-WEBT. The studies conducted with AGILE and REM (completely Italian) and the one hand, and with Swift, Fermi and MAGIC (with an essential Italian contribution) on the other, are of particular importance. The qualified involvement of INAF in these latter instruments is assured by the presence of several researchers in the relevant international collaborations.

From the theoretical and interpretative point of view, Italy's position is excellent, especially in the case of blazar modeling (and more in general extragalactic jets) and in the numerical simulation of the formation and dynamics of relativistic jets. As far as radio-quiet AGN are concerned, the Italian contribution has been first rate. Italy has an important role also in the study of compact binaries with white dwarfs, benefiting from projects with Italian leaders and co-Is involving X-ray observations with Chandra, XMM-Newton, Swift and INTEGRAL, and in the optical band with both Italian and ESO telescopes.

These studies make use of X-ray satellites such as Swift, Chandra, XMM-Newton, Suzaku and RossiXTE; those for gamma-ray astronomy such as INTEGRAL, AGILE and Fermi; the ground-based Cherenkov telescope MAGIC; the infrared and optical telescopes VLT, TNG and REM, and the radio telescopes of LOFAR.

In the same field, various projects with an Italian involvement are in the design or development phase, like, for example, the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA).

INAF researcher wins a Consolidator Grant 2017

Dec 20, 2017

INAF researcher wins a Consolidator Grant 2017 Two black hole systems are the investigational topic of DEMOBLACK: one of the projects that have been granted the European Consolidator Grant, which was submitted by Michela Mapelli, a researcher of the National Institute for Astrophysics-INAF and Professor at the University of Innsbruck in Austria

Light in Astronomy 2017

Nov 14, 2017

Light in Astronomy 2017 Light in Astronomy, organized by INAF in collaboration with the Italian Astronomical Society-SAIt, will be a week (13-19 November) dedicated to satisfying curiosity about the Universe thanks to the opening in Italy of INAF premises, including the astronomical observatories.

Marsis radar reveals that on Mars all that echoes is not ice

Oct 28, 2017

Marsis radar reveals that on Mars all that echoes is not ice The low dielectric constant of the Meridiani Planum deposits is consistent with a thick layer of ice-free, porous, basaltic sand. This study is fundamental to identify techniques that may help find the planet’s areas with accessible water ice.