29 August 2017 Calibrating the IXPE observatory from ground to space
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Abstract
The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) will be the next SMEX mission launched by NASA in 2021 in collaboration with the Italian Space Agency (ASI). IXPE will perform groundbreaking measurements of imaging polarization in X-rays for a number of different classes of sources with three identical telescopes, finally (re)opening a window in the high energy Universe after more than 40 years since the first pioneering results. The unprecedented sensitivity of IXPE to polarization poses peculiar requirements on the payload calibration, e.g. the use of polarized and completely unpolarized radiation, both on ground and in orbit, and can not rely on a systematic comparison with results obtained by previous observatories. In this paper, we will present the IXPE calibration plan, describing both calibrations which will be performed on the detectors at INAF-IAPS in Rome (Italy) and the calibration on the mirror and detector assemblies which will be carried out at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. On orbit calibrations, performed with calibrations sources mounted on a filter wheel and placed in front of each detector when necessary, will be presented as well.
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Fabio Muleri, Luca Baldini, Wayne Baumgartner, Yuri Evangelista, Sergio Fabiani, Jeffery Kolodziejczak, Luca Latronico, Carlo Lefevre, Stephen L. O'Dell, Brian Ramsey, Carmelo Sgrò, Paolo Soffitta, Allyn Tennant, Martin C. Weisskopf, "Calibrating the IXPE observatory from ground to space", Proc. SPIE 10397, UV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Space Instrumentation for Astronomy XX, 103970G (29 August 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2275133; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2275133
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