High-energy gamma-ray observations are an essential probe of cosmic-ray acceleration mechanisms. The detection of the highest energy gamma rays and the shortest timescales of variability are the key to improve our understanding of the acceleration processes and the environment of the cosmic accelerators.
The High Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) experiment is a large field of view, multi-TeV, gamma-ray observatory continuously operating at 14,000 ft since March, 2015. The HAWC observatory has an order of magnitude better sensitivity, angular resolution, and background rejection than the previous generation of water-Cherenkov arrays. The improved performance allows us to discover TeV sources, to detect transient events, to study the Galactic diffuse emission at TeV energies, and to measure or constrain the TeV spectra of GeV gamma-ray sources.
In this seminar I will present the most recent results using four years of data from the HAWC observatory. I will also mention the exciting perspectives of building a next-generation gamma-ray experiment at very high altitude in the Southern Hemisphere.
Miguel Mostafá is a professor of physics and of astronomy & astrophysics at the Pennsylvania State University, and a member of the Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos (IGC). The IGC is a multidisciplinary institute of Penn State researchers dedicated to the study of the most fundamental structure and constituents of the Universe.
After obtaining his Ph.D. in high energy particle physics (measuring W bosons with the D0 detector at Fermilab) from Instituto Balseiro in Argentina, he was a fellow of the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare in Italy, and a postdoctoral research associate at the University of New Mexico. He was assistant professor of physics at the University of Utah, and associate professor of physics at Colorado State University before joining Penn State in 2013.
He has been working on ultra-high energy cosmic rays as a member of the Pierre Auger Collaboration for more than 20 years. He joined the High Altitude Water Cherenkov Collaboration in 2009. He is the principal investigator of the Astrophysical Multi-Messenger Observatory Network at Penn State since 2013. He is working on the development of two new projects: one for a high-altitude gamma-ray observatory in South America, and another one for the radio detection of ultra-high energy neutrinos in China.
His research interests are in high energy particle astrophysics, including the origin of cosmic rays, acceleration mechanisms, particle physics at energies above terrestrial accelerators, gamma-ray astronomy and the structure of the Galaxy, and the nature and properties of dark matter.
He was elected fellow of the American Physical Society in 2016, and his teaching awards include the C.I. Noll Award for Excellence in Teaching sponsored by the Eberly College of Science Alumni Society at Penn State, Best Teacher Award from the Colorado State University’s Alumni Association and the Student Alumni Connection, the Outstanding Mentor Award presented by the Students as Leaders in Science also at Colorado State University, and the Students Choice Award sponsored by the Associated Students of the University of Utah.