AAS Meeting #193 - Austin, Texas, January 1999
Session 80. X-Ray Astronomy with Astro-E
Special, Oral, Friday, January 8, 1999, 10:00-11:30am, Ballroom B

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[80.04] The Astro-E High Resolution X-ray Spectrometer

R.L. Kelley (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

The Astro-E High Resolution X-ray Spectrometer (XRS) is being developed jointly by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in Japan and the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. The instrument is based on a new approach to X-ray spectroscopy, the X-ray microcalorimeter. This device senses the energies of individual X-ray photons as heat with extreme precision. A 32 channel array of cryogenically cooled microcalorimeters is being employed, each with an energy resolution of about 12 eV at 6 keV (the Fe-K region). This will provide 10 times higher spectral resolving power than any previously flown non-dispersive X-ray spectrometer. The instrument incorporates a three stage cooling system capable of operating the array at 60 mK for about two years in orbit. The array sits at the focus of a grazing incidence X-ray mirror similar to the others being developed for Astro-E (see presentation by P. Serlemitsos). The quantum efficiency of the microcalorimeters and the reflectivity of the X-ray mirror system combine to give high throughput over the 0.3-12 keV energy band. This new capability will enable the study of a wide range of high energy astrophysical sources with unprecedented spectral sensitivity. In this talk we will describe the basic operation of the XRS, the instrument parameters and expected performance, and the capabilities as applied to astrophysical investigations.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: Richard.L.Kelley.1@gsfc.nasa.gov

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