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Proceedings Paper

Beyond Chandra: the x-ray Surveyor
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Paper Abstract

Over the past 16 years, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has provided an unparalleled means for exploring the high energy universe with its half-arcsecond angular resolution. Chandra studies have deepened our understanding of galaxy clusters, active galactic nuclei, galaxies, supernova remnants, planets, and solar system objects addressing most, if not all, areas of current interest in astronomy and astrophysics. As we look beyond Chandra, it is clear that comparable or even better angular resolution with greatly increased photon throughput is essential to address even more demanding science questions, such as the formation and subsequent growth of black hole seeds at very high redshift; the emergence of the first galaxy groups; and details of feedback over a large range of scales from galaxies to galaxy clusters. Recently, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, together with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, has initiated a concept study for such a mission now named the X-ray Surveyor. This concept study starts with a baseline payload consisting of a high resolution X-ray telescope and an instrument set which may include an X-ray calorimeter, a wide-field imager and a dispersive grating spectrometer and readout. The telescope would consist of highly nested thin shells, for which a number of technical approaches are currently under development, including adjustable X-ray optics, differential deposition, and modern polishing techniques applied to a variety of substrates. In many areas, the mission requirements would be no more stringent than those of Chandra, and the study takes advantage of similar studies for other large area missions carried out over the past two decades. Initial assessments indicate that such an X-ray mission is scientifically compelling, technically feasible, and worthy of a high prioritization by the next American National Academy of Sciences Decadal Survey for Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 May 2015
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 9510, EUV and X-ray Optics: Synergy between Laboratory and Space IV, 951002 (12 May 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2185084
Show Author Affiliations
Martin C. Weisskopf, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Jessica Gaskin, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Harvey Tananbaum, Smithosian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Alexey Vikhlinin, Smithosian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9510:
EUV and X-ray Optics: Synergy between Laboratory and Space IV
René Hudec; Ladislav Pina, Editor(s)

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