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Experimental and Multi-messenger Astrophysics


Monday, 11 November 2019 to Friday, 26 June 2020
Total hours: 40
Hours of lectures: 40

Examination procedure

  • Report or seminar
  • oral exam


Courses from the Bachelor in Physics


In the first part of the course, we will present the techniques used to observe the Universe on different scales and epochs. The thermal history of the Universe will be introduced, together with several investigation methods related to the study of the cosmic microwave background, the dark ages of the Universe, the intergalactic medium, and the first galaxies and quasars formed after the Big Bang.

Then, we will describe the application of high-resolution spectroscopy in the wavelength range from the ultraviolet to the near-infrared to study the intergalactic and circumgalactic media and to detect and characterize high-redshift galaxies in absorption. The application of high-redshift quasar absorption spectra to constrain cosmology and fundamental physics will be also briefly detailed. Finally, a simple tutorial on the basic steps of spectroscopic data reduction and analysis will be carried out. 

The final part of the course will deal with non-thermal emission from astrophysical sources and with the multi-messenger astronomy.  It will introduce the observational techniques to detect non-thermal emission, astrophysical neutrinos, and gravitational waves. Recent observational results will be interpreted in the framework of existing models for the production and emission of the high-energy neutrino and gamma-rays. Open questions in the field will be briefly highlighted. 

Educational goals:

- Provide a general picture of the observational methods used in Cosmology, Astrophysics and multi-messenger Astronomy.

- Provide a basic theoretical background for understanding the physical processes behind the observed phenomena. 

- Develop data analysis skills through tutorials and exercises. 

- Stimulate the students to study open questions at the forefront of astrophysical research through the most advanced observational techniques.

Bibliographical references

Bibliographic references will be given during the lessons, based on single articles, reviewes or chapters of books. 

General references on the first part of the course:

  Stephen Serjeant, "Observational Cosmology", Cambridge University Press

  Malcolm S. Longair, "Galaxy formation", Springer

  Bruce T. Draine, "Physics of the Interstellar and Intergalactic Medium", Princeton Series in Astrophysics

  Avery A. Meiksin, "The Physics of the Intergalactic Medium", 2009, Review of Modern Physics, vol. 81, p. 1405 (arXiv:0711.3358)

General references and readings on the second part of the course:

  Hale Bradt, "Astrophysical processes", Cambridge University Press (an all-around manual; specifically useful chapters 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 4.5)

  Maurizio Spurio, "Particles and Astrophysics: a multi-messenger approach", Springer