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Proceedings Paper

The MIRAX x-ray astronomy transient mission
Author(s): João Braga; Jorge Mejía
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Paper Abstract

The Monitor e Imageador de Raios-X (MIRAX) is a small (~250 kg) X-ray astronomy satellite mission designed to monitor the central Galactic plane for transient phenomena. With a field-of-view of ~1000 square degrees and an angular resolution of ~6 arcmin, MIRAX will provide an unprecedented discovery-space coverage to study X-ray variability in detail, from fast X-ray novae to long-term (~several months) variable phenomena. Chiefly among MIRAX science objectives is its capability of providing simultaneous complete temporal coverage of the evolution of a large number of accreting black holes, including a detailed characterization of the spectral state transitions in these systems. MIRAX's instruments will include a soft X-ray (2-18 keV) and two hard X-ray (10-200 keV) coded-aperture imagers, with sensitivities of ~5 and ~2.6 mCrab/day, respectively. The hard X-ray imagers will be built at the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE), Brazil, in close collaboration with the Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences (CASS) of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and the Institut fur Astronomie und Astrophysik of the University of Tubingen (IAAT) in Germany; UCSD will provide the crossed-strip position-sensitive (0.5- mm spatial resolution) CdZnTe (CZT) hard X-ray detectors. The soft X-ray camera, provided by the Space Research Organization Netherlands (SRON), will be the spare flight unit of the Wide Field Cameras that flew on the Italian-Dutch satellite BeppoSAX. MIRAX is an approved mission of the Brazilian Space Agency (Agnecia Espacial Brasileira - AEB) and is scheduled to be launched in 2011 in a low-altitude (~550 km) circular equatorial orbit. In this paper we present recent developments in the mission planning and design, as well as Monte Carlo simulations performed on the GEANT-based package MGGPOD environment (Weidenspointner et al. 2004) and new algorithms for image digital processing. Simulated images of the central Galactic plane as it would be seen by MIRAX are shown.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 June 2006
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 6266, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation II: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 62660M (13 June 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.659958
Show Author Affiliations
João Braga, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (Brazil)
Jorge Mejía, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (Brazil)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6266:
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation II: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray
Martin J. L. Turner; Günther Hasinger, Editor(s)

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