La Rivista del Nuovo Cimento
Year 2008 - Issue 4 - April
Very-high energy gamma astrophysics
Abstract: High-energy photons are a powerful probe for astrophysics and for fundamental physics under extreme conditions. During the recent years, our knowledge of the most violent phenomena in the Universe has impressively progressed thanks to the advent of new detectors for high-energy γ -rays. Observation of γ -rays gives an exciting view of the high-energy universe thanks to the satellite-based telescopes (AGILE, GLAST) and to the ground-based detectors like the Cherenkov telescopes (H.E.S.S. and MAGIC in particular), which recently discovered more than 60 new very-high-energy sources. The progress achieved with the last generation of Cherenkov telescopes is comparable to the one drawn by EGRET with respect to the previous γ -ray satellite detectors. This paper reviews the present status of high-energy gamma astrophysics, with emphasis on the recent results and on the experimental developments.