Blazars are exemplary systems in which to study relativistic jet processes and connections to accretion onto super-massive black holes. Over half a century ago, studies began recognizing blazars as being distinguished by their flat radio spectra, compactness, variability, and polarized radio and optical emission. Over the past decade, they have become ubiquitous in the high-energy gamma-ray and very-high energy gamma-ray skies. Importantly, blazars have an expanding role in understanding high-energy astrophysics processes and significance in multi-messenger observations, thus driving future mission endeavors.
The Fermi Large Area Telescope has changed the landscape, offering 1000’s of gamma-ray blazars for study, and will provide continual all-sky monitoring over the coming decade. The gamma-ray monitoring will soon be joined by sky-survey capabilities in X-rays, optical, radio, infrared, and TeV gamma-rays, bringing an unprecedentedly complete multi-wavelength picture of their population. The Event Horizon Telescope is already making its mark in directly probing the collimation region of the jet base. The coming decade will also realize the multi-messenger connection particularly with IceCube high-energy neutrinos, and the possible role of blazars in the production of ultra high energy cosmic rays is being explored. How blazars may contribute to our understanding binary supermassive black hole systems with Pulsar Timing Arrays and in the LISA-era is ripe for study.
This conference will aim to synthesize the current observational and theoretical understanding of blazars and will anticipate coming frontiers in blazar research including X-ray and gamma-ray polarimetry, MeV gamma-ray prospects with proposed missions, and prospective X-ray imaging studies. The observations anticipated will be driven by advances in understanding of particle acceleration mechanisms through simulations and theory.
The conference is motivated by the 10th anniversary of the launch of Fermi (June 11, 2008) as well as the 40th anniversary of the Pittsburgh Conference on BL Lac Objects (April, 1978), where the blazar name was famously coined by Ed Spiegel at the conference dinner. We will plan to celebrate both Fermi’s (the satellite and its namesake) and their contributions from the vantage point of blazars.
Gamma-ray linchpin: Fermi and Beyond (e-ASTROGAM and AMEGO, CTA)
Role of X-ray and Gamma-ray polarimetry (XIPE, IXPE)
Jet collimation on Event-Horizon Scales
The (Enrico) Fermi connection: particle acceleration, jet launching, and simulations
Connection to ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays and neutrinos
Identification, population, and time-domain studies with panchromatic all-sky surveys
Jet signatures of super-massive black hole binaries and relation to low-frequency gravitational waves