AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 88 EXIST
Oral, Tuesday, January 11, 2005, 2:00-3:30pm, Sunrise

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[88.01] EXIST Science and Mission Concept for the Black Hole Finder Probe

J. E. Grindlay (CfA), EXIST Team

The Energetic X-ray Imaging Survey Telescope (EXIST) is being studied as the mission to implement the planned Black Hole Finder Probe in NASA's Beyond Einstein Program. EXIST would carry out the first all sky high sensitivity and high resolution imaging hard X-ray (5 - >300 keV) survey to inventory and study black holes. With an array of large area (6m2) coded aperture telescopes with imaging Cd-Zn-Te detectors, it would image the full sky each 95min orbit with 5arcmin resolution and source locations 10-50arcsec. A smaller array of low energy (5-30 keV) wide-field coded aperture telescopes incorporating Si detectors with higher spatial resolution would enable 10arcsec source locations for even the faintest sources at the survey flux limit of ~ 5 x 10-13 cgs, or comparable to the ROSAT soft X-ray survey limit. Here we summarize the primary science goals for black hole surveys: obscured AGN and the hard X-ray backgrounds, cosmic gamma-ray bursts from PopIII stars and the birth of stellar mass BHs, and stellar mass and intermediate mass BHs in the Galaxy and local group. The unprecedented sky coverage, cadence and sensitivity opens up new discovery space for BH surveys in both space and time. Details of each of these science areas are presented in accompanying talks. We also provide an overview of the mission concept, with details again given in an accompanying talk.

This work is partially supported by NASA grant NNG04GK33G.

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