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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).

Thanks to the HARPS-N spectrograph, the TNG can see Venus

Feb 10, 2017

Thanks to the HARPS-N spectrograph, the TNG can see Venus TThe HARPS-N spectrograph succeeded in measuring from the Earth the velocity of the clouds in the atmosphere of Venus thanks to its high precision, competing with the Japanese Akatsuki probe, which has recently begun to study the atmosphere of the second planet.

The X-ray Universe 2017

Feb 03, 2017

The X-ray Universe 2017 The symposium (Rome, 6-9 June 2017) is the fifth meeting in the series of the international symposia "The X-ray Universe". The intention is to gather a general collection of research in high energy astrophysics. The symposium will provide a showcase for results, discoveries and expectations from current and future X-ray missions.

IXPE mission: Italy and NASA for new X-ray astronomy

Jan 21, 2017

IXPE mission: Italy and NASA for new X-ray astronomy NASA has announced that it is funding a new mission to study the high-energy Universe: it will be called IXPE (Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer) and will allow astronomers to explore with unprecedented details some of the most extreme astronomic objects, including stellar and supermassive black holes, neutron stars and pulsars. The mission, scheduled for the end of 2020, will count on a considerable Italian contribution through the Italian Space Agency(ASI), the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) and the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF).