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The Growth of Interest in Astronomical X-Ray Polarimetry
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Galaxies 2018, 6(2), 42; doi:10.3390/galaxies6020042

Future X-ray Polarimetry of Relativistic Accelerators: Pulsar Wind Nebulae and Supernova Remnants

1
INAF—Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, I-50125 Firenze, Italy
2
Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Via G. Sansone 1, Sesto F. no, I-50019 Firenze, Italy
3
INFN—Sezione di Firenze, Via G. Sansone 1, Sesto F. no, I-50019 Firenze, Italy
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 16 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Bright Future of Astronomical X-ray Polarimetry)
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Abstract

Supernova remnants (SNRs) and pulsar wind nebulae (PWNs) are among the most significant sources of non-thermal X-rays in the sky, and the best means by which relativistic plasma dynamics and particle acceleration can be investigated. Being strong synchrotron emitters, they are ideal candidates for X-ray polarimetry, and indeed the Crab nebula is up to present the only object where X-ray polarization has been detected with a high level of significance. Future polarimetric measures will likely provide us with crucial information on the level of turbulence that is expected at particle acceleration sites, together with the spatial and temporal coherence of magnetic field geometry, enabling us to set stronger constraints on our acceleration models. PWNs will also allow us to estimate the level of internal dissipation. I will briefly review the current knowledge on the polarization signatures in SNRs and PWNs, and I will illustrate what we can hope to achieve with future missions such as IXPE/XIPE. View Full-Text
Keywords: MHD; radiation mechanisms: non-thermal; polarization; relativistic processes; ISM: supernova remnants; ISM: individual objects: Crab nebula MHD; radiation mechanisms: non-thermal; polarization; relativistic processes; ISM: supernova remnants; ISM: individual objects: Crab nebula
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Bucciantini, N. Future X-ray Polarimetry of Relativistic Accelerators: Pulsar Wind Nebulae and Supernova Remnants. Galaxies 2018, 6, 42.

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