20 September 2007 A wide-field hybrid x-ray telescope for a lunar-based gamma-ray burst observatory
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Abstract
Gamma ray bursts have become as important as supernova in astrophysics and cosmology and they should be studied with the same amount of diligence and continuity. Most of the types of telescopes and detectors needed already exist and in fact have already been in space. The addition of a very wide field, high angular resolution X-ray telescope would open a much larger window to bursts whose spectra are soft, either intrinsically or as a result of high redshift. Sensitivity in the X-ray band also benefits from the large number of photons of the X-ray afterglow. To fill that role we describe a telescope that is a lobster-eye optic in one dimension and a coded aperture in the other. It has larger area and bandwidth than a two-dimensional lobster-eye optic but is subject to more background. A permanent site that can accommodate a complete set of instruments that covers the entire energy range from soft X-ray to gamma ray would be preferable to the current practice of launching new spacecraft periodically with instruments that cover only part of the range. Astronomers generally favor free space, over the Moon as an observatory site. However, the architecture of a gamma ray burst observatory is more compatible with a lunar base than is the typical observatory. The instruments can be delivered gradually and perhaps at lower cost to the astrophysics budget through an Earth-Moon transportation system that is supported by the Exploration program.
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Paul Gorenstein, "A wide-field hybrid x-ray telescope for a lunar-based gamma-ray burst observatory", Proc. SPIE 6688, Optics for EUV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Astronomy III, 668807 (20 September 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.728645; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.728645
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