Last Modified: 04/05/2021 20:45:27

2016 Summer, University of Tokyo, "High Energy Astronomy, Advanced Course III"

Ken Ebisawa (ISAS/JAXA, ebisawa AT


Understand production mechanisms of high energy radiation, in particular X-rays, in the Universe. Also, learn the principles of X-ray observation from space using artificial satellites. Understand how we are going to analyze data to study physics of X-ray sources. I plan to show practical examples as much as possible.


I intend to use white-board more than projector, since I believe it is important to understand things by manipulating hands. I expect students to take notes by hand through the lecture. After the lecture, the presented material will be made available on this page.

I try to present simple and practical examples as much as possible. I will bring a calculator for myself, and expect to students to bring their own.

Lectures are made either in English or Japanese, so that all the class attendee including international students can understand.


Students take an examination on August 1st. Nothing is allowed to bring to consult, expect calculator (Internet connection is not allowed). In case you are not available on August 1st, please let me know; I will consider another measure for evaluation.
Lecture note (pdf): Last updated on July 30, 2016

Schedule and Records

Lecture 1: (2016/04/11) Introduction to astrophysics, History of X-ray astronomy, X-ray astronomical instrumentation
Powerpoint slides. Sorry, mostly Japanese...
Lecture 2: (2016/04/18): How to interpret the X-ray data (1)
Lecture 3: (2016/04/25): How to interpret the X-ray data (2)
NO LECTURE on 2016/05/02. Have a happy holiday!
Lecture 4: (2016/05/09): How to interpret the X-ray data (3), X-ray observation of accretion disks
NO LECTURE on 2016/05/16.
NO LECTURE on 2016/05/23. Science Faculty Party at Koishikawa Botanical Garden
Lecture 5: (2016/05/30):X-ray observation of accretion disks, Astronomical observation using artificial satellites
Lecture 6: (2016/06/06): Astronomical observation using artificial satellites; Euler angles
Power-point file to illustrate the relashonship between the third Euler angle and the roll-angle.
Animation of transformation from the equatorial coordinate to Galactic coordinate

Suzaku observations in the NEP region (with JUDO2; background is Digital Sky Survey)
Note, RA and DEC of NEP is (270, 66.56). Let's consider the ZYZ Euler angle, as well as the roll-angle, to observe NEP for each season. The first Euler angle is RA =270. The second Euler angle is 90-DEC=23.44. So that the satellite Y-axis faces Sun, the third Euler angles for each season is uniquely determined. The roll-angle is 90 - third Euler angle.

Spring equinox (春分) EA:(270, 23.44, 0.0), roll-angle:90
Summer solstice (夏至)EA:(270, 23.44, 90.0), roll-angle:0
Autumnal equinox (秋分)EA:(270, 23.44, 180.0), roll-angle:-90=270
Winter solstice (冬至) EA:(270, 23.44, 270.0), roll-angle:-180=180
Note, the roll-angle is defined as the angle measured from North to DETY in counter-clock wise. So that the solar-panel (satellite Y-axis) follows Sun, the roll-angle decreases with season.

If you put cursor in the following order on JUDO2 screen, you may see the field of view rotates in clock-wise.
708014010 (observed in November 14), actual Euler angle (270.08, 23.40, 232.4)
504070010 (observed in November 15), actual Euler angle (270.05, 23.44, 232.82)
504072010 (observed in December 7), actual Euler angle (270.05, 23.43, 255.36)
504074010 (observed in December 15), actual Euler angle (270.05, 23.43, 261.93)
504076010 (observed in December 28), actual Euler angle (270.044, 23.42, 284.63)
109016010 (observed in January 30), actual Euler angle (270.03, 23.43, 307.48)
109016020 (observed in February 3), actual Euler angle (270.035, 23.42, 307.48)

Lecture 7: (2016/06/13):Astronomical observation using artificial satellites; Euler angles, coordinate conversion

Simple R-scripts for coordinate conversion shown in the lecture;
equatorial to ecliptic
equatorial to Galactic

Suzaku Galactic Plane observation (with JUDO2; background is 2MASS), where ZYZ euler angle is (281.00, 94.08, 184.47)
Find the locations of four corners;
(RA, DEC)=(280.87, -4.24)
(RA, DEC)=(280.84, -3.94)
(RA, DEC)=(281.14, -3.92)
(RA, DEC)=(281.16, -4.22)
A R-script to calculate these CCD corner positions (Suzaku CCD FOV is 18'x18')
Animation of single rotation from equatorial coordinate to Galactic coordinate

NO LECTURE on 2016/06/20. Sorry I have to attend an important meeting oversea.
Lecture 8: (2016/06/27): Astronomical observation using artificial satellites; quaternion
Final report of ASTRO-H accident (in Japanese)
Movie : Two satellite attitudes represtened with quaritenians "p" and "q" (X,Y,Z-axes are red, green and blue), maneuver from p to q (qp-1), and average of the two attitudes p and q (broken red, green and blue lines).

Lecture 9: (2016/07/04): Satellite orbits, Two Line Elements.
Orbits of various satellites, Orbits of ASTRO-H (Hitomi) and its debris, A detailed explanation of TLE (in Japanese) by Kashiwai Isana-san
NORAD Two Line Elements
A web tool by NASA to display various satellite orbits. Orbit of the Chandra X-ray Observatory is shown as an example.

Lecture 10: (2016/07/11): Radiation transfer, X-ray production mechanism (blackbody)
NO LECTURE: (2016/07/18):Japanese national holiday (day of sea).
Lecture 11: (2016/07/25): X-ray production mechanism (thermal bremsstrahlung, inverse Comptonization, synchroton)
Please find the Hitomi Perseus Cluster result publised in Nature, as well as the press-releases from JAXA and NASA.
Exam: (2016/08/01): Problems (full score=100)
Results: 27 students took the exam. Average 63.8. Median 60. Three students took the full-score (100)!


  1. "Radiative Processes in Astrophysics", G. B. Rybicki, A. P. Lightman (Wiley)
  2. "Handbook of X-ray astronomy", (Cambridge University Press)
  3. "High Energy Astrophysics", Longair (Cambridge University Press)
  4. "High Energy Astrophysics", Katz, out of print ,but pdf is freely available
  5. "Black‐Hole Accretion Disks:Towards a New Paradigm", Kato, Fukue and Mineshge (Kyoto Univ. Press)
  6. シリーズ現代の天文学8、ブラックホールと高エネルギー現象(日本評論社)
  7. シリーズ現代の天文学17、宇宙の観測(3)、高エネルギー天文学(日本評論社)
  8. "Classical Mechanics", Goldstein --- Arguments on Euler angles, quaternion
  9. 「人工衛星の力学と制御ハンドブック―基礎理論から応用技術まで」 姿勢制御研究委員会