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Arvind Parmar, Tone Peacock, Marcos Bavdaz (SSD/ESA)
XEUS is a potential follow-on to ESA's Cornerstone X-Ray Spectroscopy Mission (XMM), currently nearing completion and is under study as part of the Horizon 2000+ plan to utilize the International Space Station for astronomical applications. XEUS will be a long-term X-ray observatory with an initial aperture of 6~m2, an energy range of 0.1--30 keV and a spatial resolution of 2'' to 5'' at 1~keV. The focal plane detectors will consist of both narrow and wide-field imagers with fields of view of 1 and 5--10', respectively. The narrow field imagers are expected to have an energy resolution of 1~eV at 1~keV and the wide field imager 50~eV at 1~keV.
XEUS will consist of separate detector and mirror spacecraft aligned by means of active control to provide a focal length of 50~m. The long focal length means that even at 8~keV a mirror area of almost 3~m2 is available. After 5 to 7 years XEUS will rendezvous with the International Space Station for refurbishment, and to allow the addition of extra mirror area. The grown mirror will have ~30 m2 of collecting area at 1~keV. A new detector spacecraft, complete with the next generation of focal plane instruments, will also be added.
XEUS will have the potential to observe sources as faint as 10-17~erg~cm-2~s-1, collecting 200 photons in a 100~ks exposure (after mirror growth). The enormous low-energy collecting area means that the energy and width of a 350~eV (rest-frame) equivalent width Fe line from a 1044~erg~s-1 AGN will be measurable to z~5. This will allow the evolution of black holes within AGN to be studied to moderate redshifts. Alternatively, and nearer to home, the large area and good spatial resolution will allow 1035~erg~s-1 X-ray sources to be studied in M31.
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