17 September 2012 Next generation astronomical x-ray optics: high angular resolution, light weight, and low production cost
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Abstract
X-ray astronomy depends upon the availability of telescopes with high resolution and large photon colleX-ray astronomy depends upon the availability of telescopes with high resolution and large photon collecting areas. As astronomical x-ray observations can only be carried out above the atmosphere, these telescopes must necessarily be lightweight. Compounding the lightweight requirement is that an x-ray telescope consists of many nested concentric shells, which further requires that x-ray mirrors must be geometrically thin to achieve high packing efficiency. This double requirement—lightweight and geometrically thin—poses significant technical challenges in fabricating the mirrors and in integrating them into mirror assemblies. This paper reports on the approach, strategy, and status of our program to develop x-ray optics meeting these technical challenges at modest cost. The objective of this technology program is to enable future x-ray missions—including small Explorer missions in the near term, probe class missions in the medium term, and large flagship missions in the long term.ing areas. As astronomical x-ray observations can only be carried out above the atmosphere, these telescopes must necessarily be lightweight. Compounding the lightweight requirement is that an x-ray telescope consists of many nested concentric shells, which further requires that x-ray mirrors must be geometrically thin to achieve high packing efficiency. This double requirement—lightweight and geometrically thin—poses significant technical challenges in fabricating the mirrors and in integrating them into mirror assemblies. This paper reports on the approach, strategy, and status of our program to develop x-ray optics meeting these technical challenges at modest cost. The objective of this technology program is to enable future x-ray missions—including small Explorer missions in the near term, probe class missions in the medium term, and large flagship missions in the long term.
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W. W Zhang, M. P Biskach, P. N Blake, K.-W. Chan, J. A Gaskin, M. L. Hong, W. D Jones, L. D Kolos, J. R Mazzarella, R. S McClelland, S. L O'Dell, T. T Saha, M. V Sharpe, "Next generation astronomical x-ray optics: high angular resolution, light weight, and low production cost", Proc. SPIE 8443, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 84430S (17 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.926034; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.926034
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