AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 24 Observatories and Observing Conditions: Optical to X-rays
Oral, Monday, January 5, 2004, 10:00-11:30am, Centennial III

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[24.06] The Scientific Potential of Astro-E2 Observations

H. Kunieda, H. Inoue (ISAS), R. Kelley, K. Mukai, N. White (NASA/GSFC), Astro-E2 Team

The Japanese-US X-ray astronomy satellite Astro-E2 is scheduled for launch in January-February 2005. It is characterized by an excellent spectral resolution and a broad energy band coverage, and has been designed to complement the great imaging performance of Chandra and the large effective area of XMM-Newton. The micro-calorimeter array in a cold (60 mK) dewar (XRS) is placed at the focus of one high throughput X-ray telescope, with an energy resolution of 6 eV for the energy range 0.3 to 7 keV (see the accompanying paper by Kelley et al. for further details). Four additional telescopes focus X-rays onto CCD cameras, with the combined effective area at 7 keV in excess of 1200 cm2. The third instrument, a high sensitivity hard X-ray detection system with well type anti-counters, will cover hard X-rays up to 600 keV. We are in the process of assembly and calibration of the flight model detectors and the spacecraft, and find the system performance to meet or exceed expectations.

We present several simulations to illustrate the unique scientific potential of the XRS instrument. For clusters of galaxies, we will be able to utilise the high spectral resolution over the 6x6 pixel array to examine the gas dynamics and to analyze line features in detail. For active galactic nuclei, we will be able to study the Fe K line porfile in detail with XRS while simultaneously determining the broad-band X-ray spectra with the other instruments. Observing time on Astro-E2 will be open to the US astronomical community through a NASA Research Annoucement, expected in summer 2004.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.