Pulsar Wind Nebulae are highly intriguing astrophysical objects in many respects. They are the brightest and closest class of relativistic sources, and hence the ultimate laboratory for the physics of relativistic plasmas: several processes at work in other classes of relativistic sources can here be studied with unique detail, like the acceleration and collimation of relativistic outflows, or the acceleration of particles at relativistic shocks. I will review the properties of Pulsar Wind Nebulae and the current status of our theoretical understanding in light of the most recent 2D and 3D MHD modeling of these sources. I will discuss how these studies are taking us to the point when we can reliably use multi-wavelength observations of these nebulae as diagnostics of the hidden physics of the pulsar wind and of the mechanism(s) through which particles are accelerated at the highly relativistic shock that terminates the wind. Finally I will review the most recent surprises brought about by Very High Energy Observations of Pulsar Wind Nebulae and discuss the role of these sources from the cosmic ray physics perspective.
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Meeting ID: 996 1652 8733
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