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Large-angle OBServaTory with Energy Resolution for Synoptic X-ray Studies (LOBSTER-SXS)

By Paul Gorenstein

Abstract

The soft X-ray band hosts a larger, more diverse range of variable sources than any other region of the electromagnetic spectrum. They are stars, compact binaries, SMBH's, the X-ray components of Gamma-Ray Bursts, their X-ray afterglows, and soft X-ray flares from supernova. We describe a concept for a very wide field (~ 4 ster) modular hybrid X-ray telescope system that can measure positions of bursts and fast transients with as good as arc second accuracy, the precision required to identify fainter and increasingly more distant events. The dimensions and materials of all telescope modules are identical. All but two are part of a cylindrical lobster-eye telescope with flat double sided mirrors that focus in one dimension and utilize a coded mask for resolution in the other. Their positioning accuracy is about an arc minute. The two remaining modules are made from the same materials but configured as a Kirkpatrick-Baez telescope with longer focal length that focuses in two dimensions. When pointed it refines the hybrid telescope's arc minute positions to an arc second and provides larger effective area for spectral and temporal measurements. Above 10 keV the mirrors act as an imaging collimator with positioning capability. For short duration events this hybrid focusing/coded mask system is more sensitive and versatile than either a 2D coded mask or a 2D lobster-eye telescope. Very wide field X-ray telescopes have become feasible as the ability to fabricate large area arrays of CCD and CMOS detectors has improved. This instrument's function in the soft X-ray band is similar to that of Swift in hard X-ray band and there are a greater variety of fast transients in the soft X-ray band. An instrument with considerably more sensitivity than current wide field X-ray detectors would be compatible with a modest NASA Explorer mission.Comment: 15 pages, 5 figures, To be presented at SPIE Conference 8147 "Optics for EUV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Astronomy V", Aug.21-25, 201

Topics: Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics, Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1117/12.890247
OAI identifier: oai:arXiv.org:1104.1996
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