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Proceedings Paper

Ex luna, scientia: lunar occultation as a paradigm for nuclear astrophysics
Author(s): Richard S. Miller; David J. Lawrence; Patrick N. Peplowski; John O. Goldsten; Martin T. Ozimek; Christopher J. Scott; James C. Leary; Dave Grant; C. Alex Young
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Paper Abstract

Next-generation nuclear astrophysics investigations must address a demanding set of requirements to probe the matter and energy life-cycle in our Galaxy and throughout the Cosmos. Enhanced flux sensitivity and (near) all-sky monitoring are just two of these requirements; cost effectiveness and other programmatic restrictions pose additional challenges. These competing goals can be addressed with a paradigm change, i.e. performing investigations from lunar orbit and utilizing a new detection and imaging technique. We report on our development of the Moon as a platform for nuclear astrophysics utilizing the Lunar Occultation Technique (LOT). Here source fluxes are temporally modulated as they are repeatedly occulted by the Moon; the modulation, as observed by a suitably configured instrument in lunar orbit, enables the detection, imaging, and characterization of both point- and extended-sources, narrow-line and broadband sources. Key benefits include maximizing the ratio of sensitive-to-total deployed mass and the operational simplicity relative to other detection schemes. A mission based on the LOT, the Lunar Occultation Explorer (LOX), will be the first to employ occultation as the principle method to characterize the intensity, variability, and spectra of detected sources.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 July 2016
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 9905, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 99056B (18 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2232779
Show Author Affiliations
Richard S. Miller, Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville (United States)
David J. Lawrence, Johns Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Lab. (United States)
Patrick N. Peplowski, Johns Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Lab. (United States)
John O. Goldsten, Johns Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Lab. (United States)
Martin T. Ozimek, Johns Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Lab. (United States)
Christopher J. Scott, Johns Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Lab. (United States)
James C. Leary, Johns Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Lab. (United States)
Dave Grant, Johns Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Lab. (United States)
C. Alex Young, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9905:
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray
Jan-Willem A. den Herder; Tadayuki Takahashi; Marshall Bautz, Editor(s)

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