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15 October 2012 Toward active x-ray telescopes II
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Abstract
In the half century since the initial discovery of an astronomical (non-solar) x-ray source, the observation time required to achieve a given sensitivity has decreased by eight orders of magnitude. Largely responsible for this dramatic progress has been the refinement of the (grazing-incidence) focusing x-ray telescope, culminating with the exquisite subarcsecond imaging performance of the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The future of x-ray astronomy relies upon the development of x-ray telescopes with larger aperture areas (< 1 m2) and comparable or finer angular resolution (< 1″). Combined with the special requirements of grazing-incidence optics, the mass and envelope constraints of space-borne telescopes render such advances technologically challenging—requiring precision fabrication, alignment, and assembly of large areas (< 200 m2) of lightweight (≈ 1 kg m-2 areal density) mirrors. Achieving precise and stable alignment and figure control may entail active (in-space adjustable) x-ray optics. This paper discusses relevant programmatic and technological issues and summarizes current progress toward active x-ray telescopes.
© (2012) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
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