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18 July 2000 Absolute effective area of the Chandra high-resolution mirror assembly (HRMA)
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The Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched in July 1999, and is returning exquisite sub-arc second X-ray images of star groups, supernova remnants, galaxies, quasars, and clusters of galaxies. In addition to being the premier X-ray observatory in terms of angular and spectral resolution, Chandra is the best calibrated X-ray facility ever flown. We discuss here the calibration of the on-axis effective area of the High Resolution Mirror Assembly. Because we do not know the absolute X-ray flux density of any celestial source, this must be based primarily on ground measurements and on modeling. We use celestial sources which may be assumed to have smoothly varying spectra, such as the BL Lac object Markarian 421, to verify the continuity of the area calibration as a function of energy across the Ir M-edges. We believe the accuracy of the HRMA area calibration is of order 2%.
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