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High Energy Astrophysics Division

The AAS High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) assists and promotes the advancement of research and the dissemination of knowledge about high energy events, particles, quanta, relativistic gravitational fields, and related phenomena in the astrophysical universe. HEAD also promotes the coordination of this research and knowledge with other branches of science. The division holds Division Meetings every 18 months, as well as sessions within the meetings of the American Astronomical Society. Each year, HEAD awards the Rossi Prize for recent original research in High Energy Astrophysics. At each Division Meeting, HEAD announces the Schramm Award for High Energy Astrophysics Science Journalism, the Mid-Career Prize, and the Dissertation Prize. The electronic HEAD Newsletter is published twice yearly. HEAD membership information is managed within the AAS database at AAS Member Directory.

50th Anniversary of the High Energy Astrophysics Division

2019 marks the 50th Anniversary of the High Energy Astrophysics Division.  We are soliciting HEAD members and others to submit stories, photos, important events, etc.  of the HEAD during the past 50 years. If you have something to contribute, please send it to the HEAD secretary (  Also, please see Virginia Trimble's retrospective on the history of the HEAD (and High Energy Astrophysics in general) over the last 50 years, originally presented at the 17th Divisional Meeting in Monterey, and Christine Jones's remembrances of Riccardo Giacconi from that same meeting

Upcoming Meeting:

The 18th Divisional meeting of the High Energy Astrophysics Division, scheduled to take place 13-17 September 2020 in Tucson, AZ at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa, has been cancelled due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.  For registration refunds, please contact Please contact the Starr Pass Resort (+1-888-236-2427) to cancel room reservations.

The Executive Committee is currently considering alternatives, like a virtual HEAD meeting or an in-person meeting (perhaps a Meeting-in-a-Meeting at the 238th AAS Summer meeting in Anchorage, Alaska).

HEAD Virtual Seminar Series:

The HEAD Executive Committee would like to announce the institution of HEAD virtual monthly Science Seminar Series. We anticipate a 1 hour virtual seminar (probably via Zoom) with 3 short talks (~15 minutes+2-3 minutes for Q&A). Talks can be by HEAD members, or non-HEAD members who have HEA-related results. Priority will be given to graduate students near-PhD and recent post-docs, although anyone with an exciting result is encouraged to propose.The first Virtual Seminar is planned for June 30, 2020.   If you’d like to propose a talk for the inaugural session (planned for June 30th), please submit a request for talk at Talks may be proposed at any time, and will remain in consideration for future months unless retracted by the speaker. 


  • Dr. Roger Blandford has won the 2020 Shaw Prize in Astronomy, for his foundational contributions to theoretical astrophysics, especially concerning the fundamental understanding of active galactic nuclei, the formation and collimation of relativistic jets, the energy extraction mechanism from black holes, and the acceleration of particles in shocks and their relevant radiation mechanisms
  • Dr. Andrew Fabian has won the 2020 Kavli Prize for Astrophysics, for his pioneering research and persistence in pursuing the mystery of how black holes influence their surrounding galaxies on both large and small scales.
  • The deadline for nominations to the Dissertation, Mid-Career and Innovation prizes has been extended to June 1, 2020.
  • On March 16, 2020, NASA selected for further study the Compton Spectrometer and Imager (COSI)  and The Extreme-ultraviolet Stellar Characterization for Atmospheric Physics and Evolution (ESCAPE) Small Explorer mission proposals, along with the Gravitational-wave Ultraviolet Counterpart Imager and the LargE Area burst Polarimeter (LEAP) Mission of Opportunity proposals.  Two of the proposed missions will be downselected in 2021, with launch anticipated in 2025.  See the NASA press release for further details.
  • The 2020 Bruno Rossi Prize has been awarded to Sheperd Doeleman and the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Team for "their landmark image and analysis of the first shadow of a black hole. Please see the HEAD Press Release for more information
  • The 2020 winter meeting of the AAS, AAS 235, begins on January 4, 2020.  A schedule of meeting talks and events of interest to HEAD members is available on the HEAD AAS 235 meeting page.
  • Upcoming HEA Meetings
  • Older Items

Have a picture relevant to high-energy astrophysics you'd like to see on the HEAD page? Contact the webmaster to submit with an image and short description.