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Proceedings Paper

Reference payload of the ESA L1 mission candidate ATHENA
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Paper Abstract

The Advanced Telescope for High ENergy Astrophysics (ATHENA) is one of the three candidates that competed for the first large-class mission (L1) in ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 programme, with a launch planned by 2022 and is the result of the IXO reformulation activities. ATHENA is an ESA-led project and is conceived as the next generation X-ray observatory. It is meant to address fundamental questions about accretion around black-holes, reveal the physics underpinning cosmic feedback, trace the large scale structure of baryons in galaxy clusters and the cosmic as well as a large number of astrophysics and fundamental physics phenomena. The observatory consists of two identical mirrors each illuminating a fixed focal plane instrument, providing collectively 1 m2 effective area at 1 keV. The reference payload consists of a medium resolution wide field imager (WFI) and a high resolution X-ray micro-calorimeter spectrometer (XMS). The WFI is based on a monolithic Si DepFET array providing imaging over a 24 × 24 arcmin2 field of view and a good PSF oversampling. The sensor will measure X-rays in the range 0.1–15 keV and provides near Fano limited energy resolution (150eV at 6keV). The XMS is based on a micro-calorimeter array operating at its transition temperature of ~100mK and provides <3eV resolution. The detector array consists of 32 × 32 pixels covering a 2.3 × 2.3 arcmin2 field of view, co-aligned with the WFI. This paper summarizes the results of the reformulation exercise and provides details on the payload complement and its accommodation on the spacecraft. Following the ESA Science Programme Committee decision on the L1 mission in May 2012, ATHENA was not selected to enter Definition Phase.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 September 2012
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 8443, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 84432A (17 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.925144
Show Author Affiliations
Didier Martin, ESA-ESTEC (Netherlands)
Nicola Rando, ESA-ESTEC (Netherlands)
David Lumb, ESA-ESTEC (Netherlands)
Peter Verhoeve, ESA-ESTEC (Netherlands)
Tim Oosterbroek, ESA-ESTEC (Netherlands)
Marcos Bavdaz, ESA-ESTEC (Netherlands)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8443:
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray
Tadayuki Takahashi; Stephen S. Murray; Jan-Willem A. den Herder, Editor(s)

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