Image Courtesy: M. Weiss, NASA, CXC
Plasma Astrophysics is the cross-disciplinary field that aims at understanding
various astrophysical phenomena by applying the knowledge obtained in Plasma
Physics. Since most of the visible matter in the universe --- stars, hot gas in
clusters of galaxies, and various phases of the interstellar medium inside
galaxies --- exists in the plasma form, the field of Plasma Astrophysics is very
broad and diverse, both in its methods and in the areas of application.
Although Plasma Astrophysics in its traditional definition focusses on
studying plasma processes and phenomena that take place outside of the Solar
System, it has strong ties with allied disciplines of Solar Physics, Space Physics,
and Laboratory Plasma Physics, all of which have a strong presence in Boulder.
The Plasma Astrophysics group at the University of Colorado conducts active theoretical and
computational research aimed at understanding some of the most fascinating and important
astrophysical phenomena, such as:
- Fundamental physics of magnetic reconnection
- Radiative relativistic magnetic reconnection and associated nonthermal particle acceleration and radiation emission, and astrophysical applications such as:
- pulsar magnetospheres and pulsar wind nebulae (PWN)
- blazar/AGN jets
- gamma-ray bursts (GRBs)
- coronae of accreting black holes in AGN and XRBs
- Turbulent accretion disks around black holes and their magnetically-active coronae.
- Magnetic reconnection in high-energy-density astrophysical plasmas with applications to magnetar flares and gamma-ray bursts.
- Quantum plasma physics
- D. Uzdensky, "Radiative Magnetic Reconnection in Astrophysics", invited Chapter to appear in "Magnetic Reconnection: Concepts and Applications", Springer-Verlag, W. D. Gonzalez and E. N. Parker, eds. (2016).
- G. Werner, D. Uzdensky, B. Cerutti, K. Nalewajko, & M. Begelman, The extent of power-law energy spectra in collisionless relativistic magnetic reconnection in pair plasmas , arXiv:1409.8262.