In May 1982, when Italy joined ESO, only two isolated neutron stars (INSs) had been identified in the optical: the Crab and Vela pulsars. Thanks to the ESO telescopes and the perseverance of a few Italian astronomers, now about 30 INSs have been identified in the optical/IR, and a new important channel in their multi-wavelength studies has been opened. In this contribution, I review the major steps in 30 years of INS studies at ESO, highlight the role of Italian astronomers, and introduce future perspectives with the E-ELT.
Memorie della Societa Astronomica Italiana
- Pub Date:
- Stars: pulsars;
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
- 4 pages, To be published in proceedings of European Week of Astronomy and Space Science 2012, Memorie della Societa' Astronomica Italiana