The AXTAR mission
Author(s)Ray, Paul; Phlips, Bernard; Wood, Kent S; Wilson-Hodge, Colleen; Chakrabarty, Deepto; Remillard, Ronald A; ... Show more Show less
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AXTAR is a NASA MIDEX mission concept for X-ray timing of compact objects that com- bines very large collecting area, broadband spectral coverage, high time resolution, highly flexible scheduling, and an ability to respond promptly to time-critical targets of opportunity. It is opti- mized for submillisecond timing of bright Galactic X-ray sources in order to study phenomena at the natural time scales of neutron star surfaces and black hole event horizons, thus probing the physics of ultradense matter, strongly curved spacetimes, and intense magnetic fields. AXTAR’s main instrument is a collimated, thick Si pixel detector with 2–50 keV coverage and over 3 square meters effective area. For timing observations of accreting neutron stars and black holes, AXTAR provides at least a factor of five improvement in sensitivity over the RXTE PCA. AXTAR also carries a sensitive sky monitor that acts as a trigger for pointed observations of X-ray transients in addition to providing high duty cycle monitoring of the X-ray sky. We review the science goals and design choices that face a next generation timing mission. We then describe the techni- cal concept for AXTAR and summarize a preliminary mission design study at the NASA/MSFC Advanced Concepts Office.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Physics; MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research
Proceedings of Fast X-ray timing and spectroscopy at extreme count rates — PoS(HTRS 2011)
Ray, Paul, Bernard Phlips, Kent S Wood, Deepto Chakrabarty, Ronald Remillard, and Colleen Wilson-Hodge. “The AXTAR Mission.” Proceedings of Fast X-Ray Timing and Spectroscopy at Extreme Count Rates — PoS(HTRS 2011) (December 30, 2011).
Final published version