HEAD 2003 Meeting
Session 22. Missions, Instruments and Data Analysis
Poster, Sunday-Wednesday, March 23, 2003, Duration of Meeting

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[22.20] RHESSI as a Monitor of the Hard X-Ray Sky

M. L. McConnell (UNH), V. Connaughton (UAH), J. C. Ling (JPL), D. M. Smith (UCB), W. Wheaton (Caltech), C. Wilson (NASA/MSFC)

The Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI), a NASA Small Explorer (SMEX) satellite, was launched on February 5, 2002. The primary goal of RHESSI is to image the hard X-ray and gamma-ray emission from solar flares using an array of nine large high-resolution Ge detectors that cover the energy range from 3 keV up to 20 MeV. With a small (1 degree) FoV, the spacecraft always remains pointed at the Sun. However, the unshielded Ge array offers the opportunity to monitor the hard X-ray sky using Earth occultation techniques, much like what was done with the very successful BATSE experiment on CGRO. In addition, a second far more sensitive sky monitoring technique uses detector shadowing effects within the rotating Ge array. RHESSI can achieve nearly full-sky monitoring of hard X-ray sources using the Earth occultation technique, but with a sensitivity far better than that of BATSE. The monitoring of the hard X-ray sky based on the occultation of sources within the rotating Ge array provides significantly better sensitivity, but with a reduced sky coverage. We describe these techniques in detail and present estimates of the source detection sensitivity based on Monte Carlo simulations.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: Mark.McConnell@unh.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#2
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.