Ground-Based TeV Gamma-Ray Astronomy: New Insights into Blazar Astrophysics

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Date/Time:Tuesday, 10 Nov 2009 from 2:10 pm to 3:10 pm
Location:Physics, room 18/19
Channel:College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
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Robert Marcus Wagner (Max-Planck-Institute for Physics, Germany)

"The MAGIC (Major Atmospheric Gamma Imaging Cherenkov) telescope currently is the largest stand-alone Cherenkov telescope, featuring the lowest energy threshold (approx. 65 GeV) among the ground-based gamma-ray observatories. The 14 active galactic nuclei (AGNs) detected by MAGIC so far in the >100 GeV energy range include well-known bright blazars like Mkn 421 and Mkn 501, but also prominent AGNs such as BL Lac, the giant radio galaxy M 87, and the distant flat- spectrum radio quasar 3C 279. In my colloquium I will discuss the new insights that we were able to gain from the observation of some of the MAGIC-detected AGNs, pertaining to particle acceleration mechanisms, and the location of the gamma-ray production in blazars, as well as to fundamental physics topics. I will also give an outlook how with future gamma-ray observatories - like the European Cherenkov Telescope Array or the US-based AGIS project - a very-high energy gamma-ray AGN astronomy can be established and what new astrophysical questions can be addressed with these facilities.

Short Bio:

Dr. Robert Marcus Wagner
- Master thesis 2001, Technical University Munich, Germany, and CERN, Geneva, Switzerland: "Commissioning of Silicon detectors for the COMPASS experiment" with Prof. Dr. Stephan Paul
- Ph.D. thesis 2006, Max-Planck-Institute for Physics, Germany, and Technical University Munich, Germany: "Measurement of VHE γ-ray emission from four blazars using the MAGIC telescope and a comparative blazar study" with Dr. Eckart Lorenz, Prof. Dr. Siegfried Bethke, Prof. Dr. Masahiro Teshima
- Postdoctoral researcher at Max-Planck-Institute for Physics, Munich, Germany
- Junior principal investigator at the Excellence Cluster "Origin and Structure of the Universe", Garching near Munich, Germany
- Since 2002 member of the MAGIC collaboration, since 2006 convenor of the MAGIC physics working group for active galactic nuclei
- Scientific interests focus on the physics of extragalactic gamma-ray sources; fundamental physics with VHE γ-ray and multi-wavelength/multi- messenger observations
- Member of the MAGIC/HESS/VERITAS joint observations team
- Collaborating in the AGN physics, Telescope mount, and Observatory working packages of the Cherenkov Telescope Array consortium