AAS 200th meeting, Albuquerque, NM, June 2002
Session 61. The Future of Extreme Ultraviolet Astronomy
Display, Wednesday, June 5, 2002, 10:00am-7:00pm, SW Exhibit Hall

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[61.03] Diffraction-limited astronomical X-ray imaging and X-ray interferometry using multilayer optics

D. L. Windt, S. M. Kahn (Columbia Astrophysics Laboratory), G. E. Sommargren (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

Soft X-ray telescopes constructed from normal-incidence multilayer mirrors have driven the tremendous progress in solar physics made over the last decade. Most notably, the SoHO EIT and TRACE instruments now provide high resolution images that can be used to construct detailed temperature and density maps of the solar corona; the imaging data are complementary to the high-resolution spectral data obtained with more traditional spectroscopic instrumentation (e.g., crystal and grating spectrometers), and together these data sets are being used to unravel the dynamics and morphology of the transition region and the million-degree solar corona.

Normal-incidence soft X-ray imaging now can be extended to previously unresolved Galactic and extra-Galactic sources as well. New multilayers are available that operate at X-ray energies as high as ~ 0.5 keV, and large-diameter aspheric mirror substrates having 1-2 A rms figure and finish are commercially available. We can therefore construct diffraction-limited soft X-ray telescopes that provide sub-mas resolution and large effective area at judiciously chosen wavelengths (e.g., tuned to the bright emission lines from ionized Fe in the EUV, or to the H-like lines of C VI, N VII, and O VIII in the range 34 - 19 A.) A number of exciting observations become possible with such instrumentation, including detailed imaging studies of stellar coronae, interacting binaries, globular clusters, and jets in active galactic nuclei, to name just a few examples. Furthermore, this technology ultimately could be used to construct a soft X-ray interferometer having sub-microarcsecond angular resolution and high spectral resolution over a wide band of wavelengths.

We will describe the status of normal-incidence multilayer X-ray optics, and show how this technology can be used to achieve (a) sub-mas X-ray imaging that will complement the high-resolution spectroscopic data now provided by Chandra and XMM, and eventually by Constellation-X and other future high-energy astrophysics missions, and (b) sub-microarcsecond X-ray interferometery, as for the currently envisioned MAXIM mission.

This research is funded in part by a grant from NASA.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.