Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research Collaboration on Plasma Astrophysics between St John’s College Oxford and UCD

18.10.2006
A major collaborative research project that will address fundamental astrophysical questions has started between The Research Centre, St John’s College Oxford and UCD’s School of Mathematical Sciences.

Researchers led by Dr Katherine Blundell and Professor James Binney FRS in Oxford and Dr Peter Duffy in Dublin, will work towards understanding the role played by magnetised turbulence in the transport and acceleration of highly energetic particles in quasars and microquasars.

The theoretical and computational models developed in UCD and Oxford will then be compared with the data gleaned from the astronomical observations. The result will be numerical codes and visualisation software to simulate transport in the turbulent magnetic fields along relativistic jets and the resulting radiative transfer.

“The dynamics of jet formation clearly involve both gravity and electromagnetism, but the similarities between jets in systems with radically different scales suggests that the underlying physics is simple”, said Dr Blundell. “It is nevertheless far from understood. We propose to advance our understanding of that physics by combining developments in plasma physics with state-of-the-art radio and X-ray observations of both microquasars and radio galaxies.”

A unique feature of this project will be its interdisciplinary nature; drawing on the fields of observational astronomy, theoretical physics, computational science and developments in transport theory for terrestrial, nuclear fusion plasmas.

The UCD team will concentrate on theoretical work on the microphysics scale, using a combination of analytical calculations and large-scale simulations to explore the mechanisms by which charged particles are accelerated and then transported within radio sources.

The Oxford team will concentrate on observations and modelling on the macro-scale. Firstly, reducing and interpreting the data obtained through an observational programme using cutting-edge facilities to observe key sources at a range of frequencies in radio and X-rays. Secondly, combining the observable consequences of the microphysics studied in Dublin with models of the gross structure of the observed sources to produce predictions for what should be actually observed, at both radio wavelengths and X-ray frequencies.

Radio and X-ray astronomy are key diagnostics in tracing energetic particles that are being transported by background magnetic fields in the regions, known as lobes, surrounding such galaxies. “It is imperative that we advance our understanding of the relevance and prevalence of transport mechanisms of charged particles responsible for the radiation within these jets and lobes, and not just within a very narrow regime in parameter space”, said Dr Duffy.

Dr Blundell, an expert in radio astronomy and plasma physics, published papers in 2000-2001 showing that a mechanism is needed to transport particles quickly in these lobes over vast distances in a turbulent magnetic field. Already familiar with Dr Duffy’s work at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in the mid-nineties, addressing the transport of very fast particles in turbulent magnetic fields, Dr Blundell established contact with him in UCD and the collaboration began.

Realising that the research was also applicable to a second class of object known as microquasars - scaled down versions of quasars found within our own Milky Way Galaxy, Dr Duffy and Dr Blundell co-authored three papers in the Astrophysical Journal and Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion. In 2003-2004 they realised that a determined effort to solve these problems would require a large, inter-disciplinary team of researchers.

Dr Peter Duffy | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ucd.ie
http://mathsci.ucd.ie/cgi-bin/sms/frontpage.cgi

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Lightning, with a chance of antimatter

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

A huge hydrogen generator at the Earth's core-mantle boundary

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Scientists find why CP El Niño is harder to predict than EP El Niño

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>