Perspectives of blazar studies with future space missions

  • I. DonnarummaEmail author
  • S. Vercellone
A Decade of AGILE
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. A Decade of AGILE: Results, Challenges and Prospects of Gamma-Ray Astrophysics


Since the AGILE and Fermi launch, the synergy between gamma-ray experiments and other space- and ground-based observatories has been the key to carry out multi-wavelength campaign aimed at understanding the physical mechanisms responsible for the observed gamma-ray emission in astrophysical sources. Blazars are the best examples of astrophysical sources where this strategy has been applied. The big efforts put in place for blazars to obtain coordinated observations with a broad coverage of the electromagnetic spectrum are providing new diagnostics of the physical processes at work in these sources, raising a lot of challenges for the theoretical interpretation. These could be partially solved through further observations with ground- and space-based facilities, therefore requiring new advances in technology and mission profile design. We will discuss how the lessons learned from current \(\gamma\)-ray observatories represent an important heritage for future missions expected to play a crucial role in the understanding of extreme phenomena in the high-energy domain.


Gamma-rays: observations Blazars Jetted sources Instrumentation 



S.V. acknowledges financial contribution from the Grant ASI I/028/12/0 and the agreement ASI-INAF no. 2017-14-H.0.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Aartsen MG, Ackermann M, Adams J et al (2018) Multimessenger observations of a flaring blazar coincident with high-energy neutrino IceCube-170922A. Science 361:1378Google Scholar
  2. Aharonian F et al (2009) Simultaneous multiwavelength observations of the second exceptional \(\gamma\)-ray flare of PKS 2155–304 in July 2006. Astron Astrophys 502:749CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Begelman MC et al (1987) Inverse compton scattering of ambient radiation by a cold relativistic jet: a source of beamed polarized X-ray and optical observations of X-ray-selected BL lacertae objects. Astrophys J 322:650CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Celotti A, Ghisellini G, Fabian AC (2007) Bulk comptonization spectra in blazars. Mon Not R Astron Soc 375:417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. De Angelis A et al (2017) The e-ASTROGAM mission. Exploring the extreme Universe with gamma rays in the MeV–GeV range. Exp Astron 44:25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. De Angelis A et al (2018) Science with e-ASTROGAM. A space mission for MeV–GeV gamma-ray astrophysics. J High Energy Astrophys 19:1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Donnarumma I et al (2011) The remarkable \(\gamma\)-ray activity in the gravitationally lensed blazar PKS 1830–211. Astrophys J Lett 736:L30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Garrappa S et al (2019) Investigation of two fermi-LAT gamma-ray blazars coincident with high-energy neutrinos detected by icecube. Astrophys J 880:103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ghisellini G, Tavecchio F (2009) Canonical high-power blazars. Mon Not R Astron Soc 397:985CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Halzen F et al (2017) IceCube in the era of multimessenger astrophysics. Mod Phys Lett A 32:1730010CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. in’t Zand JJM et al (2019) Observatory science with eXTP. Sci China Phys Mech Astron 62:29506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jorstad S et al (2006) Multifrequency polarization properties of blazars. Chin J Astron Astrophys Suppl 6:247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Krawczynski H (2012) The polarization properties of inverse Compton emission and implications for blazar observations with GEMS X-ray polarimeter. Astrophys J 744:30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lucarelli F et al (2017) AGILE detection of a candidate gamma-ray precursor to the IceCube-160731 neutrino event. Astrophys J 846:121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lucarelli F et al (2019) AGILE detection of gamma-ray sources coincident with cosmic neutrino events. Astrophys J 870:136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. MacDonald NR, Marscher AP, Jorstad SG (2015) Through the ring of fire: gamma-ray variability in blazars by a moving plasmoid passing a local source of seed photons. Astrophys J 804:111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Marsher AP (2014) Turbulent, extreme multi-zone model for simulating flux and polarization variability in blazars. Astrophys J 780:87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Peirson AL, Romani RW (2018) The polarization behavior of relativistic synchrotron jets. Astrophys J 864:140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pittori C et al (2018) The bright \(\gamma\)-ray flare of 3C 279 in 2015 June: AGILE detection and multifrequency follow-up observations. Astrophys J 856:99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Tavani M, Vittorini V, Cavaliere A (2015) An emerging class of gamma-ray flares from blazars: beyond one-zone models. Astrophys J 814:51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Tavecchio F, Landoni M, Sironi L, Coppi P (2018) Probing dissipation mechanisms in BL Lac jets thriugh X-ray polarimetry. Mon Not R Astron Soc 480:2872CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Vercellone S (2019) AGILE and blazars: the unexpected, the unprecedented, and the uncut. Rend Fis Acc Lincei. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Vittorini V et al (2017) Meeting the challenge from bright and fast gamma-ray flares of 3C 279. Astrophys J 843:L23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Weisskopf MC et al (2016) The imaging X-ray polarimetry explorer (IXPE). Res Phys 6:1179Google Scholar
  25. Zhang SN et al (2019) The enhanced X-ray timing and polarimetry mission–eXTP. Sci China Phys Mech Astron 62:29502CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Zhang H, Boettcher M (2013) X-ray and gamma-ray polarization in leptonic and hadronic jet models of blazars. Astrophys J 774:18CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ASIRomeItaly
  2. 2.INAF Osservatorio Astronomico di BreraMerateItaly

Personalised recommendations