The High-Energy Universe: Microquasars

2018 edition

Edgar Molina

Studying the universe at high energies is of capital importance in the field of astrophysics. Not only it provides us with information about non-understood phenomena, but it is also a powerful tool to probe processes that are many orders of magnitude more energetic than anything we can obtain on Earth.

One example of a system involving very energetic phenomena, both in its formation and in its normal operation, is the microquasar, named like this because of the similarities with its bigger, galaxy-sized counterpart, the quasar. Microquasars are formed by a compact object, either a neutron star or a black-hole, which is “eating” matter from a nearby star.. This results in the presence of an accretion disk around the compact object and very powerful streams of matter that are shot perpendicularly to it, the so-called jets. These jets can accelerate particles to energies hundreds of times bigger than the ones obtained in the Large Hadron Collider, making their study totally worthwhile.