19 March 2018 Optimization of the design of X-Calibur for a long-duration balloon flight and results from a one-day test flight
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Abstract
X-ray polarimetry promises exciting insights into the physics of compact astrophysical objects by providing two observables: the polarization fraction and angle as function of energy. X-Calibur is a balloon-borne hard x-ray scattering polarimeter for the 15- to 60-keV energy range. After the successful test flight in September 2016, the instrument is now being prepared for a long-duration balloon (LDB) flight in December 2018 through January 2019. During the LDB flight, X-Calibur will make detailed measurements of the polarization of Vela X-1 and constrain the polarization of a sample of between 4 and 9 additional sources. We describe the upgraded polarimeter design, including the use of a beryllium scattering element, lower-noise front-end electronics, and an improved fully active CsI(Na) anticoincidence shield, which will significantly increase the instrument sensitivity. We present estimates of the improved polarimeter performance based on simulations and laboratory measurements. We present some of the results from the 2016 flight and show that we solved several problems, which led to a reduced sensitivity during the 2016 flight. We end with a description of the planned Vela X-1 observations, including a Swift/BAT-guided observation strategy.
© 2018 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
Fabian Kislat, Fabian Kislat, Quin Abarr, Quin Abarr, Banafsheh Beheshtipour, Banafsheh Beheshtipour, Gianluigi De Geronimo, Gianluigi De Geronimo, Paul Dowkontt, Paul Dowkontt, Jason Tang, Jason Tang, Henric Krawczynski, Henric Krawczynski, } "Optimization of the design of X-Calibur for a long-duration balloon flight and results from a one-day test flight," Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems 4(1), 011004 (19 March 2018). https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JATIS.4.1.011004 . Submission: Received: 15 November 2017; Accepted: 19 February 2018
Received: 15 November 2017; Accepted: 19 February 2018; Published: 19 March 2018
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