Multimessenger Astronomy - 
      John Etienne Beckman

Multimessenger Astronomy

Written by a professional astronomer who has worked on a wide spectrum of topics throughout his career, this book gives a popular science level description of what has become known as multimessenger astronomy. Les mer
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Written by a professional astronomer who has worked on a wide spectrum of topics throughout his career, this book gives a popular science level description of what has become known as multimessenger astronomy. It links the new with the traditional, showing how astronomy has advanced at increasing pace in the modern era.

In the second decade of the twenty-first century astronomy has seen the beginnings of a revolution. After centuries when all our information about the Universe has come via electromagnetic waves, now several entirely new ways of exploring it have emerged. The most spectacular has been the detection of gravitational waves in 2015, but astronomy also uses neutrinos and cosmic ray particles to probe processes in the centres of stars and galaxies.

The book is strongly oriented towards measurement and technique. Widely illustrated with colourful pictures of instruments, their creators and astronomical objects, it is backed with descriptions of the underlying theories and concepts, linking predictions, observations and experiments. The thread is largely historical, although obviously it cannot be encyclopaedic. Its point of departure is the beginning of the twentieth century and it aims at being as complete as possible for the date of completion at the end of 2020.

The book addresses a wide public whose interest in science is served by magazines like Scientific American: lively, intelligent readers but without university studies in physics.
Forlag: Springer Nature Switzerland AG
Innbinding: Paperback
Språk: Engelsk
Sider: 390
ISBN: 9783030683719
Format: 24 x 16 cm

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Foreword by Rainer Weiss (Nobel Laureate)


The electromagnetic spectrum based on a diagram with the different wavelength ranges explained, and the beginning of observations for each range marked as a small range of dates within the XX century. In addition a second diagram will illustrate the non-electromagnetic forms of detection of astronomical sources and the dates of initiation of each of them.

1. Optical astronomy.

The optical telescope . Spectrograph. Photographic plate. CCD.

Important telescopes (Very brief resume of history to set a scene, including earliest telescopes: Lippershey, Galileo , Newton, Cassegrain, Earl of Rosse, Herschel, Mt. Wilson, Mt. Palomar, Hubble Space Telescope, Adaptive Optics).

Basic results: Images of star clusters, interstellar emitting gas, galaxies, galaxy clusters. Spectra of outstanding objects. Velocities, chemical compositions of objects, temperaturas, gravitational fields. Limitations (dust, very high and very low temperature objects, non-thermal emission).

2. Radioastronomy

Jansky, radiostatic from Milky Way. 2nd World War development of radio techniques and receivers. Radio telescopes : Large dishes at Jodrell Bank, Green Bank, Effelsberg, Arecibo. Interferometers: basis, interferometers: Cambridge, Dwingeloo, VLA. High frequencies, (centimetre wave and millimetre wave astronomy). VLBI.

Results: Sun, Jupiter, Centre of Galaxy (Sag A), Supernova remnants, Quasars, pulsars, jets, non-thermal sources in general, Cosmic Microwave Background. HI, molecules (notably H2).

3. Infrared Astronomy

Development of infrared detectors in the 1960's. Ground based infrared telescopes SIRTF, UKIRT. Satellites IRAS, Spitzer (SIRTF).

Infrared astronomy from aircraft, Kuiper and Sofia observatories; Solar IR observations from aircraft, Lear Jet, Concorde eclipse observations.

Basic results: dust penetration, galaxy and star formation, planet detection.

4. Ultraviolet astronomy.

Ozone and nitrogen impede direct observations in most of the UV from the ground. Balloons, rockets, and satellites needed.

NASA's orbiting astronomical observatories were dedicated partly to UV astronomy. OAO3 ("Copernicus") measured interstellar deuterium), International Ultraviolet Explorer (NASA, ESA, plus UK) measured spectra of many astronomical sources. Halley's comet, planets, quasars, hot stars. Extreme Ultraviolet explorer, and more recently GALEX, maps of hot components of galaxies.

5. X-ray astronomy

First detections using rocket equipment in 1962 Sco X-1 and the Crab Nebula. Used Geiger counters as detectors. 35 sources by 1965. Cygnus X-1, first stellar mass black hole.

Early satellites HEAO-1 1977, and Einstein. Detected radio pulsars, pulsars, galaxies, quasars, auroras on planets and the X-ray background. Chandra X-ray observatory 1999, and XMM-Newton. X-ray binaries, and supermassive black holes at galaxy centres.

6.Gamma-ray astronomy

First detections with Vela satellites 1960's designed to detect nuclear explosions) detected cosmic gamma ray bursts from distant space. Also discovered from Sun by solar orbiter. Series of satellites, notably OSO-3 (NASA) Cos- B (ESA) through to the Compton Gamma Ray observatory in the 1990's. More recently INTEGRAL and AGILE in Europe and Fermi in US. Ground based gamma-ray telescopes using Cherenkov effect from particle showers produced by high energy gamma rays, (HESS, MAGIC, CTA). Recent catalogue from HESS of Galactic plane sources. High energy gamma ray bursts produced in violent events (hypernovae, neutron star and black hole mergers etc.) Combination and relation of gamma rays with cosmic rays (see also neutrinos).

In 2017 a gamma-ray burst was identified with a gravitational wave source as produced by merging neutron star binary.

7.Neutrino astronomy

Neutrinos first detected in 1956 Cowan and Reines (Nobel) in reactor. First solar neutrinos detected by Davis(Nobel with Koshiba) and Bahcall. Terrestrial atmospheric neutrinos in 1965.

Underwater experiments DUMAND, (Deep underwater muon and neutrino detector) Baikal lake (used three strings to find muon trajectories). Under ice experiments AMANDA in antartica ( not deep enough to reconstruct tracks) then extended to 2km and tracks recorded., and succeeded by IceCube (2005). In 2017 IceCube detected a high energy neutrino traceable to a blazar 3.7 billion light years away. (combined with MAGIC gamma ray detection).

8. Gravitational wave astronomy

Indirect detection of gravitational waves in binary pulsar orbital decay (Taylor and Hulse), and subsequent similar detections.

Direct detectors of gravitational waves: LIGO

1962. Gerstenshtein and Pustovoit suggested use of laser interferometery for GW detection.

Laser interferometer. Rainer Weiss realised in the 1970's that a laser interferometer mode of detecting gravitational waves had the potential for success. Kip Thorne worked on the theory of their production by astronomical sources . LIGO gradually adopted by NSF in 1990's, collaboration with Ron Drever (later excluded for bad managment!). Technique adopted from GEO600 detector at Hannover.

First operation of LIGO from 2002 to 2010, without success. Advanced LIGO operated in Feb. 2015 at Livingstone and Hanford. First detection on 14th September 2015 (two 30 solar mass black holes merging at 1.3 billion light years from Earth). Since then

9. Cosmic ray astronomy.

Cosmic rays discovered by Father Wulf, (Dutch) , Pacini (Italian), Hess (Austrian) between 1908 and 1912, using electroscope discharge, followed by Kholhoerster (German) Pacini used underwater detection to show particles came from above, Hess and KH flew in balloon. Term cosmic rays given by Millikan in 1926.

Cosmic rays as leading elements for probing physics between 1920's and 1950's. (positron, muon, pion, Kaon, lambda.hyperon)

Composition of cosmic rays (compared with solar and stellar abundances have more LiBeB. Comparison of particle with cosmic gamma-rays. (same sources, gamma rays permit source identification).

AMS and cosmic ray composition. AMS and the hunt for primordial antimatter.

10. Cosmology and particle physics: interaction of the largest and smallest scales in the universe.

Dark matter: astronomical clues. Dark matter searches.

Matter antimatter asymmetry. The very early universe. Telescopes and accelerators.

Dark energy.

11. In the form of a brief appendix: meteorites and cosmochemistry
John Beckman is Emeritus Research Professor of Astrophysics at the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias. A graduate of Oxford University in Theoretical Physics, he read for his D.Phil. in Astrophysics at the same university, where he later was awarded the higher doctorate of D.Sc. After a postdoc at University of California Berkeley he took a post at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, (Caltech) where he was Project Scientist for the infrared radiometer on the Mariner 6 probe to Mars. Returning to England he lectured at Queen Mary University of London, joining a pioneer group in millimetre wave astronomy, where as well as working in solar physics his group was the first to measure the peak in the Cosmic Microwave Background spectrum, almost a decade before the COBE measurement from space. During this period he participated in observing the chromosphere from the Concorde aircraft, during the longest total solar eclipse in history, of 74 minutes' duration. After a period at the European Space Agency's ESTEC facility he was invited to be the first research director of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, where he has been working ever since.

His interests have moved outwards from planets, via the Sun, to stars and finally galaxies. His present research is on the structure and evolution of galaxies using the wide range of instruments available at the Canary Island Observatories.

He has directed 35 PhD theses and a similar number of MSc dissertations, and has over 650 entries in the ADS astronomy publications website. His outreach activities have included hundreds of lectures to schools, universities, and amateur astronomy clubs in a dozen countries. He is the scientific director, and lecturer, at the "Jornadas Astronomicas de Almeria" which, starting in 2005, has brought high level popular astronomy to the public at an annual event at which, among others, 7 Nobel Laureates and 7 ESA and NASA astronauts have given lectures.

His research experience is unusually varied, The "Festschift" given for John to celebrate his 40 years in astronomy was entitled "Pathways through an Eclectic Universe". This wide range of knowledge makes him a suitable author for a book on Multimessenger Astronomy, in which he aims to incorporate the newest ways of observing the Universe, via neutrinos and gravitational waves, into the panoramic range of observations made using the full span of the electromagnetic spectrum.