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Session 35 - Proposed Instruments and Programs.
Display session, Tuesday, June 09
Atlas Ballroom,

[35.04] A Polarimeter for Low Energy X-ray Astrophysical Sources (PLEXAS)

H. L. Marshall (MIT), S. S. Murray, E. Silver, H. Schnopper (SAO), M. C. Weisskopf (NASA/MSFC)

We present a concept for a Spartan-borne telescope that would be capable of measuring the linear polarization of the soft X-ray fluxes from astronomical sources using multilayer coated mirrors to provide high reflectivity at large graze angles. Three identical mirror-detector assemblies are designed for maximum efficiency at 0.25 keV, where the photon spectra of many celestial targets peak. In two 10-day Shuttle flights of this low risk instrument with proven heritage, we can detect polarizations of 5-10% at 5\sigma due to Compton scattering or synchrotron processes in the relativistic jets of BL Lac objects, accretion disks or jets in active galactic nuclei and atmospheres of isolated pulsars. Pulsar data will be binned by pulse phase to measure the orientation of the neutron star rotation and magnetic field axes and constrain M/R. This concept was proposed in response to the NASA University-class Explorer (UNEX) Program (AO 98-OSS-01).

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Program listing for Tuesday