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Astrophysics with High Energy Gamma Rays

Abstract

Recent results, the present status and the perspectives of high energy gamma-ray astronomy are described. Since the satellite observations by the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory and its precursor missions have been reviewed extensively, emphasis is on the results from the ground-based gamma-ray telescopes. They concern the physics of Pulsar Nebulae, Supernova Remnants in their assumed role as the Galactic sources of Cosmic Rays, Jets from Active Galactic Nuclei, and the Extragalactic Background radiation field due to stars and dust in galaxies. Since the gamma-ray emission is nonthermal, this kind of astronomy deals with the pervasive high-energy nonequilibrium states in the Universe. The present build-up of larger and more sensitive instruments, both on the ground and in space, gives fascinating prospects also for observational cosmology and astroparticle physics. Through realistically possible further observational developments at high mountain altitudes a rapid extension of the field is to be expected.Comment: 23 pages, 11 figures. To appear in "Astronomy, Cosmology and Fundamental Physics", ed. P. A. Shaver, L. Di Lella, and A. Gimenez, Proc. ESA-CERN-ESO Symposium, Garching, March 2002. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, series "ESO Astrophysics Symposia

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