Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems

Editor-in-Chief: Mark Clampin, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

The Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems (JATIS) covers development, testing, and application of telescopes, instrumentation, techniques, and systems for ground- and space-based astronomy.

Call For Papers
How to Submit to a Special Section

To submit a manuscript for consideration in a Special Section, please prepare the manuscript according to the journal guidelines and use the Online Submission SystemLeaving site. A cover letter indicating that the submission is intended for this special section should be included with the paper. Papers will be peer‐reviewed in accordance with the journal's established policies and procedures. Authors have the choice to publish with open access.

Polarimetry in X- and Gamma-Ray Astronomy: the Ultimate Dimension
Publication Date
Special section papers are published as soon as the copyedited and typeset proofs are approved by the author.
Submission Deadline
Closed for submissions
Guest Editors
Stanley D. Hunter

Mail Code 661.1
Greenbelt, Maryland 20771

Ezio Caroli

Via Gobetti 101,
I-40129 Bologna, Italy


When it comes to the study of electromagnetic radiation, there are 3 dimensions that can be exploited (all as a function of time): imaging, spectroscopy, and polarization. So far, only the first two have been successfully pursued (both alone or jointly) in order to study celestial objects in the x- and gamma-ray regime, while the third has for long been neglected due to the low level of expected polarization and related experimental complexities and difficulties. Even at lower energies (below 10 keV), where source photon fluxes are considerable higher, the astronomical community has been slow to embrace the potential value of polarimetry. While polarimetry at other wavebands (radio, optical) is an established technique, high-energy astrophysics lags far behind in this respect. Polarization analysis has the potential of revealing many details about the magnetic fields, geometries, and emission mechanisms found in high-energy emitting sources. Conventional analysis of the high-energy radiation from these astronomical sites often provides two or more different models that successfully explain the observations; to discriminate between competing models, the number of observables should increase. The combined measurement of polarization angle and degree of linear polarization can provide this vital extra information: as an example, the dependence (or lack of it) of polarization on energy can help discriminate between inverse Compton and synchrotron processes, which are often at work in high-energy-emitting objects. Therefore, polarimetry can be seen as the ultimate dimension in x- and gamma-ray astronomy and should become a standard observational tool also in this energy regime. In fact, it is today widely recognized that the next generation of x- and gamma-ray instrumentation should fulfill this requirement.

The purpose of this JATIS special section is to address how observations of x- and gamma-ray polarization can contribute to our understanding of how the Universe works. In this special section we encourage contributions covering theoretical, instrumental, and observational aspects over the entire ~1 keV to ~100 TeV energy range.

Related topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • The theoretical model predictions of polarization from specific objects (e.g. pulsars, blazers, AGN, GRBs, solar, etc.); observational status and requirements
  • How observations of polarization would discriminate various models
  • General x- and gamma-ray polarimetry principles
  • Experimental techniques associated with photon polarization measurement (photoelectric absorption, Compton scattering, pair production, and electromagnetic cascades)
  • Current and past scientific instruments
  • New instrument development for future astronomy space missions
  • Detector technologies and their in-flight performance; performance simulations
  • Observational aspects of future space missions including minimum detectable polarization requirements and possible advantages of multiband polarization observations
  • Science observation and calibration strategies.

All submissions will be peer reviewed. Peer review will commence immediately upon manuscript submission, with a goal of making a first decision within 6 weeks of manuscript submission. Special sections are opened online once a minimum of four papers have been accepted. Each paper is published as soon as the copyedited and typeset proofs are approved by the author. Submissions should follow the guidelines of JATIS. Manuscripts should be submitted online at A cover letter indicating that the submission is intended for this special section should be included.

Nonideal pulsar magnetosphere solutions shown on the poloidal plane (μ,Ω). The solutions shown correspond to the indicated inclination angles a. The parallel electric field component E∥ (in color scale) together with the lines of the poloidal magnetic field. The color ranges purple-green and green-red indicate antiparallel and parallel directions of E∥ (relative to the magnetic field), respectively. [From Kalapotharakos, Kazanas, Harding, and Contopoulos, “Toward a Realistic Pulsar Magnetosphere,” ApJ, 749(2) 2012, used with permission of the authors.]
Previously Published Special Sections

The Hitomi X-Ray Observatory (January-March 2018)
Guest Editors: Richard L. Kelley and Kazuhiro Nakazawa

Future Large-Aperture Ultraviolet/Optical/Infrared Space Observatory (October-December 2016)
Guest Editors: Harley Thronson, Avi Mandell, Ron Polidan, and Jason Tumlinson

WFIRST-AFTA Coronagraphs (January-March 2016)
Guest Editors: Olivier Guyon and Motohide Tamura

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