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Paper Abstract

High-energy astrophysics is a relatively young scientific field, made possible by space-borne telescopes. During the half-century history of x-ray astronomy, the sensitivity of focusing x-ray telescopes-through finer angular resolution and increased effective area-has improved by a factor of a 100 million. This technological advance has enabled numerous exciting discoveries and increasingly detailed study of the high-energy universe-including accreting (stellarmass and super-massive) black holes, accreting and isolated neutron stars, pulsar-wind nebulae, shocked plasma in supernova remnants, and hot thermal plasma in clusters of galaxies. As the largest structures in the universe, galaxy clusters constitute a unique laboratory for measuring the gravitational effects of dark matter and of dark energy. Here, we review the history of high-resolution x-ray telescopes and highlight some of the scientific results enabled by these telescopes. Next, we describe the planned next-generation x-ray-astronomy facility-the International X-ray Observatory (IXO). We conclude with an overview of a concept for the next next-generation facility-Generation X. The scientific objectives of such a mission will require very large areas (about 10000 m2) of highly-nested lightweight grazing-incidence mirrors with exceptional (about 0.1-arcsecond) angular resolution. Achieving this angular resolution with lightweight mirrors will likely require on-orbit adjustment of alignment and figure.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 October 2010
PDF: 19 pages
Proc. SPIE 7803, Adaptive X-Ray Optics, 78030H (22 October 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.862315
Show Author Affiliations
Stephen L. O'Dell, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Roger J. Brissenden, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
William N. Davis, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Ronald F. Elsner, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Martin S. Elvis, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Mark D. Freeman, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Terrance Gaetz, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Paul Gorenstein, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Mikhail V. Gubarev, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Diab Jerius, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Michael Juda, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Jeffery J. Kolodziejczak, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Stephen S. Murray, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Robert Petre, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
William Podgorski, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Brian D. Ramsey, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Paul B. Reid, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Timo Saha, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Daniel A. Schwartz, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
Susan Trolier-McKinstry, The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Martin C. Weisskopf, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Rudeger H. T. Wilke, The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Scott Wolk, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (United States)
William W. Zhang, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7803:
Adaptive X-Ray Optics
Ali M. Khounsary; Stephen L. O'Dell; Sergio R. Restaino, Editor(s)

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