Special Issue "Observations of Gamma-Ray Pulsars"
A special issue of Galaxies (ISSN 2075-4434).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 January 2019
The NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope marked a revolution in pulsar gamma-ray astronomy, thanks to the unprecedented performance of its Large Area Telescope (LAT), having detected now more than 200 pulsars in gamma-rays, compared with the seven known before its launch in June 2008. About a quarter of these pulsars have been discovered in gamma-rays and they are still lacking a radio detection. The existence of a significant population of these “radio-quiet” pulsars was expected since the discovery of the prototype of this class, the gamma-ray pulsar Geminga, back in the early 1970s. Quite unexpectedly, about half of the gamma-ray pulsars discovered by Fermi are Gyr-old millisecond pulsars, which are a few orders of magnitude less energetic than the bulk of the young pulsar population. This discovery has triggered, among other things, a profound rethinking of gamma-ray emission models in pulsars. With Fermi extending its mission this reach harvest of gamma-ray pulsars is set to continue, possibly with the detection of those still hiding among the hundreds of unidentified gamma-ray sources.
It is now clear that this provides us with an unprecedentedly large and diverse sample to start characterising the pulsar spectra from the gamma rays to the optical, and understand how the complex radiation processes in pulsar magnetospheres work, which is key to understand the behaviour of relativistic particles and radiation under extreme magnetic fields.
The goals of this Special Issue are to set the state-of-the-art after ten years of pulsar observations by Fermi, present the results of their multi-wavelength follow-ups and how this helped to understand the pulsar emission physics, and outline the research plans for the next few years.
Prof. Dr. Roberto Mignani
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