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W. T. Sanders (University of Wisconsin-Madison), BEST Team
The Baryonic Extragalactic Structure Tracer (BEST) will be proposed to NASA in the next selection of Small Explorer missions. It is a small satellite that is designed to map the million-degree diffuse intergalactic and interstellar plasmas with high spectral resolution, < 4 eV for X-ray energies < 1000 eV, moderate angular resolution, ~ 5 arcminutes, and large effective area at 600 eV, > 200 cm2. It consists of an array of microcalorimeter detectors behind a short focal-length conical-foil optic - an imaging X-ray spectrometer that can, over a 1.5 - 2 year mission, map the entire sky and conduct deep pointed observations of selected targets and regions to profoundly extend our understanding of hot matter in the Universe. BEST is designed to identify and characterize the X-ray emission from the current epoch missing baryons, which are located primarily in moderately overdense intergalactic regions and are predicted to account for ~ 10% of the soft X-ray background. A wide range of additional investigations can be carried out with BEST, including imaging spectroscopy of the hot gas in galaxy clusters and groups, the hot ISM of nearby galaxies, galactic and extragalactic supernova remnants, and the halo and ISM of our Galaxy. The ISM is particularly rich in studies, including the Galactic Bulge, the Galactic Ridge, nearby bubbles and fossil SNR, and the Local Bubble.
Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society,
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.