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15 July 2008 The Lunar X-ray Observatory (LXO)
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Abstract
X-ray emission from charge exchange recombination between the highly ionized solar wind and neutral material in Earth's magnetosheath has complicated x-ray observations of celestial objects with x-ray observatories including ROSAT, Chandra, XMM-Newton, and Suzaku. However, the charge-exchange emission can also be used as an important diagnostic of the solar-wind interacting with the magnetosheath. Soft x-ray observations from low-earth orbit or even the highly eccentric orbits of Chandra and XMM-Newton are likely superpositions of the celestial object of interest, the true extra-solar soft x-ray background, geospheric charge exchange, and heliospheric charge exchange. We show that with a small x-ray telescope placed either on the moon, in a similar vein as the Apollo ALSEP instruments, or in a stable orbit at a similar distance from the earth, we can begin to disentangle the complicated emission structure in the soft x-ray band. Here we present initial results of a feasibility study recently funded by NASA to place a small x-ray telescope on the lunar surface. The telescope operates during lunar night to observe charge exchange interactions between the solar wind and magnetosphic neutrals, between the solar wind and the lunar atmosphere, and an unobstructed view of the soft x-ray background without the geospheric component.
© (2008) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
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