International Astronomical Union
Division XI / Commission 44
News and ViewsThe current scientific activities of Division XI is reproduced from the Triannual Report of the Division XI for GA 2006 in the following:
I. Scientific activitiesThe Division XI "Space and High Energy Astrophysics" has a single Commission with the same naming. It covers wide areas of astrophysics, from originally founded high energy astrophysics(UV, X-ray and gamma rays), to later added low energy range astrophysics (infrared, submillimeter and radio) astrophysics, which are commonly concerned with space observations. It also includes partly some ground based gamma ray and cosmic ray experiments and even gravitational wave experiment. Moon based observations in general are also discussed in this Division.
Scientific activities in the Division XI has been continuing flourishing and exciting ages in the past three years.
In the high energy ranges, the GALEX, a UV satellite, and the X-ray satellites, Chandra, XMM-Newton have continued their high productivities as before, and the newly launched Japanese Suzaku(formerly called ASTRO-E2) has joined the fleet and started its activity. The Israeli TAUVEX UV telescope array is now scheduled to launch on board the G-SAT-4 satellite by the end of February 2007. The gamma ray satellite, INTEGRAL is also working actively. HETE-2 and the newly launched Swift has been opening new horizon in Gamma Ray Burst physics. New gamma ray satellite, AGILE and GLAST is expected to be launched in year time scales. In high energy gamma ray experiments on the ground, a big Cerenkov array, HESS and more recently MAGIC have started its operation following the Whipple and CANGAROO experiments. TAMA, LIGO and VIRGO have started operation for the gravitational wave detection.
In the low energy ranges, the infrared satellite, Spitzer Space Telescope is working actively, producing high quality data in variety of objects, and the Japanese infrared satellite, ASTRO-F(renamed as AKARI(light)) launched successfully in early 2006, is expecting to start soon all sky survey in near to far infrared regions. Bigger and more sophisticated missions, Herschel and Planck are under development for the launch in 2008. The astrometry satellite, GAIA is under development too. The post HST mission, JWST is under development, albeit of budgetary difficulty. ISAS, Japan has started a preparatory study of the second generation space VLBI mission, VSOP-II, as the post VSOP mission which completed its successful operation in 2006. Observations of very long wavelength(<10MHz) radio astronomy facilities are also under discussion. The Russian Spectrum series, RadioAstron, Spectrum-UV and Spectrum-Roentgen-Gamma are foreseen to be launched around 2010/2011 in collaboration with ESA and DLR.
All these missions or experiments will keep the high level of activities and contribute to almost all areas of astrophysics and astronomy in the future. In this respect, the Division XI are enjoying very happy and prospective ages.
II. Division activities
Working Groups:Division XI has two Scientific Working Groups, "Particle Astrophysics" and "Astronomy from the Moon". Both of them cover relatively wider areas besides the major activities. The former W.G. includes the cosmic particle physics, such as high energy gamma ray detection by Cherenkov telescopes and extremely high energy cosmic ray events observed by air showers. The latter W.G. coordinates the various observations under planning on the Moon, such as optical telescopes, infrared observations at the poles or long wave length radio observations at the back side of the Moon, etc. Both are active and important for expanding the activities of future potentiality.
In W.G. Particle Astrophysics, 3 days symposium "Particle Astrophysics; New Windows to the Universe" will be held just before the General Assembly in Wurzburg, with topics of cosmic high energy radiation, and dark matters and neutrino, important but unsettled issues in High Energy Astrophysics.
In W.G. Astronomy from the Moon, potentialities of the Moon based observations are under study and new discussion are raised to correspond to the new campaign "Exploration of Moon and Mars" project.
Both W.G. should be continued in the next period.
The WG 'Astronomy from the Moon' has been changed to an
Interdivisionary WG between Divisions IX, X, and XI.
The chairs of both Working Group have been