High Energy Astrophysics
High energy astrophysics is the study of astronomical objects that release electromagnetic radiation of highly energetic wavelengths. It includes X-ray astronomy, gamma-ray astronomy, and extreme UV astronomy, as well as studies of cosmic rays.
Astronomical objects studied in this field include black holes, active galactic nuclei, quasars, galactic microquasars, supernovae, supernova remnants, and Gamma ray bursts and sources of cosmic rays. The group is studying accretion processes in AGN, formation of the jets, objects spectra and the properties and origin of cosmic rays. Astronomers form the Copernicus Center are involved in major high energy astronomical instrumental projects such as: H.E.S.S., CTA, Integral and ATHENA.
At the Copernicus Center on this subject work: Marek Abramowicz, Rupal Basak, Bożena Czerny, Krzysztof Hryniewicz, Włodzimierz Kluźniak, Joanna Mikołajewska, Rafał Moderski, Krzysztof Nalewajko, Agata Różańska, Bronisław Rudak, Marek Sikora, Nazma Islam Syeda, Andrzej Zdziarski, Janusz Ziółkowski, Bei You, and Piotr Życki as well as PhD students: Tek Prasad Adhikari, Bartosz Bełdycki, Dominik Gronkiewicz, Maitrayee Gupta, Bhupendra Prakash Mishra, Katarzyna Rusinek, Justyna Średzińska, Varadarajan Parthasarathy, Wenchi Yan.
Stanisław Tatur is working on particle physics.
Nuclear astrophysics and dense matter physics
Nuclear astrophysics is an interdisciplinary field connecting astronomy, astrophysics and nuclear physics. In particular it is interested in compact objects such as neutron stars and quark stars. Under investigation are: equations of state, phase transitions, formation of compact objects. Theoretical investigations are put in context of the observational results.
Cosmology and gravitation
Cosmology is the discipline that deals with the nature of the Universe as a whole. Cosmologists seek to understand the origin, evolution, structure, and ultimate fate of the Universe at large, as well as the natural laws that govern it. Modern cosmology is dominated by the Big Bang theory, which brings together observational astronomy and particle physics. Topics interesting to cosmologist include: primordial nucleosynthesis, microwave, X-ray and UV backgrounds, the formation of galaxies and evolution of the large-scale structure of matter distribution. Inhomogenous models of the Universe (and corresponding solutions of Einstein’s equations) are also investigated.
Astronomers at the Copernicus Center interested in cosmology and general relativity: Marek Abramowicz, Stanisław Bajtlik, Paweł Bielewicz. Michał Chodorowski, Włodzimierz Kluźniak, Andrzej Krasiński, Andrzej Sołtan.
Gravitational waves astrophysics is a new and promising field of research of the Universe. In contrast to the observations of the electromagnetic waves (radio waves, visible light, X-rays and gamma), which are the main source of our current knowledge, we ''listen'' to the Universe by registering minor disturbances of the space-time curvature using the LIGO and Virgo laser interferometric detectors. Gravitational waves are emitted during the largest cosmic cataclysms: mergers of binary systems of neutron stars or black holes, explosions of supernovae, and by other sources, e.g., unstable or deformed rotating neutron stars. The direct detection of gravitational waves allows the study of objects that are dark (do not shine in electromagnetic waves), testing the theory of gravity in the dynamic regime of strong gravitational field, and the direct study of the interior of neutron stars which contain the densest and most extreme matter existing currently in the Universe. These informations cannot be currently obtained using other methods.
The study of stars and stellar evolution is fundamental to our understanding of the Universe. The astrophysics of stars is being determined through observation, theoretical understanding and computer simulations of the interior. The field of interests of stellar astronomers involves physical properties of stars, their formation and evolution as well as their impact on the environment (interstellar medium). A very important research subject at the Copernicus Center is the binary stars especially close binary systems (cataclysmic stars, accretion disks, common envelope binaries), symbiotic stars, novae and X-ray binaries. A related subject under investigation is the planets formation and observational search for them. Stellar astronomers from the Copernicus Center are involved in major instrumental projects: Solaris, SALT, BRITE-PL and Herschel.
Theoretical and observational investigation in the field of stellar astronomy are carried by: Wojciech Dziembowski, Marcin Hajduk, Cezary Galan, Janusz Kałużny, Maciej Konacki, Wojciech Krzemiński, Antonios Manousakis, Beata Mazur, Joanna Mikołajewska, Arkadiusz Olech, Wojciech Pych, Michał Różyczka, Marek Sarna, Mirosław Schmidt, Aleksander Schwarzenberg-Czerny, Rodolfo Smiljanic, Józef I. Smak, Radosław Smolec, Ryszard Szczerba, Romuald Tylenda, Bosco Yung as well as Ph.D. students: Katarzyna Drozd,Marcin Gładkowski, Krystian Iłkiewicz, Stanisław Kozłowski, Weronika Narloch, Rafał Pawłaszek , Milena Ratajczak and Piotr Sybilski.
Stellar seismology studies the internal structure of pulsating stars by the interpretation of their frequency spectra. Different oscillation modes penetrate to different depths inside the star. This provides the tool to find the internal structure of stars. The pulsation frequencies give the information about the density profile of the region where the waves originate and travel. The spectrum gives the information about its chemical constituents. Both can be used to give information about the internal structure. Investigation of stellar pulsations is one of major scientific goals for the BRITE satellite constellation.
At the Copernicus Center astronomers involved in stellarseismology program are: Karolina Bąkowska, Wojciech Dziembowski, Zhao Guo, Gerald Handler, Paweł Moskalik, Alexey Pamyatnykh and Radosław Smolec and Ph.D. students: Henryka Netzel, Monika Rybicka, Paulina Sowicka and Elżbieta Zocłońska.
Dynamics of stellar systems
Dynamics of stellar systems involves investigations of properties and evolution of such objects as globular clusters, galaxies, clusters and groups of galaxies. Stability of such systems and structure formation (black hole in the nucleus, bars, halos and subhalos) and mutual interactions between members of the group of galaxies are studied, as well as formation of dark matter halos. Both theoretical studies and computer simulations are performed.
At the Copernicus Center dynamics of stellar systems is a field of research of: Ivana Ebrova, Mirosław Giersz, Ewa L. Łokas i Andrés del Pino, Nicolas Peschken, Jean-Baptiste Salomon oraz doktoranci: Abbas Askar, Diogo Belloni, Grzegorz Gajda, Klaudia Kowalczyk i Marcin Semczuk.