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Proceedings Paper

The All Sky Monitor For The X-Ray Timing Explorer
Author(s): John P. Doty
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Paper Abstract

The complex behavior of compact galactic X-ray sources complicates their study. Since these objects are highly variable, and exhibit a multiplicity of "states", it is often impossible to anticipate when a desired observation can be performed. "Transient" objects appear without warning and may be detectable for only a short period of time. These difficulties can be reduced by an instrument which can monitor a large number of objects simultaneously, or nearly so. The function of an "All Sky Monitor" is to record a photometric history of known objects, and to detect and locate transient objects. The classic techniques of this field utilize the pinhole camera and the scanned slat collimators. For both of these approaches, there is an unfortunate tradeoff between angular resolution and "photon starvation": a high resolution instrument will capture very few photons. The multiple pinhole approach avoids this problem, but designs based on the Uniformly Redundant Array (URA) principle" have generally required sophisticated two dimen-sional imaging detectors, complicated auxiliary collimation, and a large telemetry bandwidth. The All Sky Monitor (ASM) for the X-ray Timing Explorer (XTE) avoids these problems. It uses the multiple pinhole approach to avoid photon starvation for good photometric capability together with good angular resolution and an excellent capability for locating transients. While the XTE ASM doesn't have the ideal imaging qualities of URA based designs, it is simpler to build and requires a modest telemetry bandwidth; since the ASM is intended for detection, location, and photometry of discrete point sources, imaging is of secondary importance.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 December 1988
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 0982, X-Ray Instrumentation in Astronomy II, (21 December 1988); doi: 10.1117/12.948714
Show Author Affiliations
John P. Doty, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0982:
X-Ray Instrumentation in Astronomy II
Leon Golub, Editor(s)

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