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N. Gehrels (NASA GSFC)
The Swift gamma-ray burst MIDEX proposal has recently been selected by NASA for Phase A study. Swift is a multiwavelength transient observatory for GRB astronomy. The goals of the mission are to determine the origin of GRBs and their afterglows and use bursts to probe the early universe. It will also perform a survey of the hard X-ray sky to a sensitivity level of ~0.5 mCrab. A wide-field camera will detect hundreds of GRBs per year to 5 times fainter than BATSE. Sensitive narrow-field X-ray and UV/optical telescopes will be pointed at the burst location in 20 to 70 sec by an autonomously controlled "swift" spacecraft. For each burst, 0.3 - 2.5 arcsec positions will be determined and optical/UV/X-ray/gamma-ray spectrophotometry performed. On-board measurements of redshift will be performed for many of the bursts. The instrumentation is a combination of superb existing flight-spare hardware from XMM and Spectrum-X/JET-X and straight-forward development of a coded-aperture CdZnTe camera. Key components of the mission are vigorous follow-up and utreach programs to engage the public and astronomical community in Swift.
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