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Colloquium: Jamie Holder

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Physics : 401
TITLE:  Astronomy at the Highest Energies: Exploring the Extreme Universe with VERITAS

ABSTRACT:
The gamma-ray band of the electromagnetic spectrum probes some of the most extreme environments in the Universe. Photons of these very-high energies can only be produced by the interactions of subatomic particles that have been accelerated to almost the speed of light. This acceleration occurs in a surprisingly wide variety of astrophysical sources: close to black holes and neutron stars, in the blast waves of supernova explosions, and in the relativistic jets of active galaxies. Gamma-ray emission can also be used to search for evidence of dark matter annihilation, and to probe cosmological photon fields. I will describe the detection methods for gamma-ray astronomy and highlight some of the most exciting results from the VERITAS observatory, which has been studying astrophysical sources from a mountain in Arizona since 2007. I will also describe the status and prospects for the Cherenkov Telescope Array, a next-generation gamma-ray observatory on a much larger scale.