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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

A vertical facility based on raster scan configuration for the x-ray scientific calibrations of the ATHENA optics

Paper Abstract

The ATHENA X-ray observatory is a large-class ESA approved mission, with launch scheduled in 2028. The technology of Silicon Pore Optics (SPO) was selected since 2004 as the baseline for making the X-ray Mirror Assembly. Up to 700 mirror modules to obtain a nested Wolter like optics. The maximum diameter of the shells will be 2.5 m while the focal length is 12 m. The requirements for on-axis angular resolution and effective area at 1 keV are 5 arcsec HEW and 1.4 m2, while the field of view will be 40 arcmin in diameter (50 % vignetting). While in this moment there an on-going effort aiming at demonstrating the feasibility of a so large optics with so stringent scientific requirements, an important aspect to be considered regards the scientific calibrations of the X-ray optics. In this respect, the Point Spread Function and effective area have to be correctly measured and calibrated on-ground at different energies across the entire field of view, with a low vignetting. The approach considered so far foresees the use of a long (several hundreds of meters) facility to allow a full illumination with low divergence of the entire optics module (or at least of large sections of it). The implementation of similar configurations in a completely new facility to be realized in Europe (friendly called "super Panter") or the retrofitting existing facilities like the XRCF at NASA/MSFC are being considered. In both cases the costs and the programmatic risks related to the implementation of these huge facilities, with their special jigs for the alignment of the ATHENA optics, represent important aspects to be considered. Moreover, the horizontal position of the optics to be used in full illumination facilities would determine gravitational deformations, not easy to be removed with actuators or by modeling. In this talk we will discuss a completely different concept, based on the mount of the optics in vertical position and the use of a raster scan of the ATHENA optics with a small (a few cm2 wide) highly collimated (1 arcsec or so) white beam X-ray. This system will allow us to operate a much compact system. The use of a vertical configuration will imply smaller gravitational deformations, that can be controlled with actuators able to compensate them. A proper camera system with a sufficient energy resolution will be able to grant a correct measurement of both PSF and effective area of the Mirror Assembly within the calibration requirements and in a reasonable integration time. Moreover, it may allow us also to perform end-to-end tests using the two flight focal plane instruments of ATHENA. The cost and risks for the implementation would be much lower than for the full illumination systems. The conceptual configuration and preliminary expected performance of the facility will be discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 July 2019
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 11180, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2018, 1118025 (12 July 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2535996
Show Author Affiliations
G. Pareschi, Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (Italy)
A. Moretti, INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy)
B. Salmaso, INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy)
G. Sironi, INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy)
G. Tagliaferri, INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy)
M. Uslenghi, INAF – INAF - IASF Milano (Italy)
M. Fiorini, INAF – INAF - IASF Milano (Italy)
P. Attinà, INAF – Osservatorio Astrofisico di Torino (Italy)
R. Bressan, EIE Group s.r.l. (Italy)
G. Marchiori, EIE Group s.r.l. (Italy)
M. Tordi, EIE Group s.r.l. (Italy)
F. Marioni, Media Lario S.r.l. (Italy)
G. Valsecchi, Media Lario S.r.l. (Italy)
F. Zocchi, Media Lario S.r.l. (Italy)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11180:
International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2018
Zoran Sodnik; Nikos Karafolas; Bruno Cugny, Editor(s)

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