The Hitomi (ASTRO-H) mission is the sixth Japanese x-ray astronomy satellite developed by a large international collaboration, including Japan, USA, Canada, and Europe. The mission aimed to provide the highest energy resolution ever achieved at E > 2 keV, using a microcalorimeter instrument, and to cover a wide energy range spanning four decades in energy from soft x-rays to gamma rays. After a successful launch on February 17, 2016, the spacecraft lost its function on March 26, 2016, but the commissioning phase for about a month provided valuable information on the onboard instruments and the spacecraft system, including astrophysical results obtained from first light observations. The paper describes the Hitomi (ASTRO-H) mission, its capabilities, the initial operation, and the instruments/spacecraft performances confirmed during the commissioning operations for about a month.
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will discover thousands of exoplanets in orbit around the brightest stars in the sky. This first-ever spaceborne all-sky transit survey will identify planets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants. TESS stars will be far brighter than those surveyed by previous missions; thus, TESS planets will be easier to characterize in follow-up observations. For the first time it will be possible to study the masses, sizes, densities, orbits, and atmospheres of a large cohort of small planets, including a sample of rocky worlds in the habitable zones of their host stars.
Okayama Astrophysical Observatory Wide Field Camera is a near-infrared (0.9-2.5 μm) survey telescope, built as a renewal of 0.91 m classical Cassegrain telescope. The optics is composed of forward Cassegrain and quasi Schmidt, which yield an effective image circle of Φ51 mm. A HAWAII-1 PACE detector is placed at the focal plane, which gives a field of view of 0.48 deg.×0.48 deg. with image scale of 1.67 arcsec/pix. OAOWFC is used to monitor the Galactic plane for variability and search for EM counterpart of gravitational wave sources.
The Hitomi (ASTRO-H) mission is the sixth Japanese X-ray astronomy satellite developed by a large international collaboration, including Japan, USA, Canada, and Europe. The mission aimed to provide the highest energy resolution ever achieved at E > 2 keV, using a microcalorimeter instrument, and to cover a wide energy range spanning four decades in energy from soft X-rays to gamma-rays. After a successful launch on 2016 February 17, the spacecraft lost its function on 2016 March 26, but the commissioning phase for about a month provided valuable information on the on-board instruments and the spacecraft system, including astrophysical results obtained from first light observations. The paper describes the Hitomi (ASTRO-H) mission, its capabilities, the initial operation, and the instruments/spacecraft performances confirmed during the commissioning operations for about a month.
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will search for planets transiting bright and nearby stars. TESS has been selected by NASA for launch in 2017 as an Astrophysics Explorer mission. The spacecraft will be placed into a highly elliptical 13.7-day orbit around the Earth. During its 2-year mission, TESS will employ four wide-field optical charge-coupled device cameras to monitor at least 200,000 main-sequence dwarf stars with IC≈4−13 for temporary drops in brightness caused by planetary transits. Each star will be observed for an interval ranging from 1 month to 1 year, depending mainly on the star’s ecliptic latitude. The longest observing intervals will be for stars near the ecliptic poles, which are the optimal locations for follow-up observations with the James Webb Space Telescope. Brightness measurements of preselected target stars will be recorded every 2 min, and full frame images will be recorded every 30 min. TESS stars will be 10 to 100 times brighter than those surveyed by the pioneering Kepler mission. This will make TESS planets easier to characterize with follow-up observations. TESS is expected to find more than a thousand planets smaller than Neptune, including dozens that are comparable in size to the Earth. Public data releases will occur every 4 months, inviting immediate community-wide efforts to study the new planets. The TESS legacy will be a catalog of the nearest and brightest stars hosting transiting planets, which will endure as highly favorable targets for detailed investigations.
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS ) will search for planets transiting bright and nearby stars. TESS has been selected by NASA for launch in 2017 as an Astrophysics Explorer mission. The spacecraft will be placed into a highly elliptical 13.7-day orbit around the Earth. During its two-year mission, TESS will employ four wide-field optical CCD cameras to monitor at least 200,000 main-sequence dwarf stars with IC (approximately less than) 13 for temporary drops in brightness caused by planetary transits. Each star will be observed for an interval ranging from one month to one year, depending mainly on the star's ecliptic latitude. The longest observing intervals will be for stars near the ecliptic poles, which are the optimal locations for follow-up observations with the James Webb Space Telescope. Brightness measurements of preselected target stars will be recorded every 2 min, and full frame images will be recorded every 30 min. TESS stars will be 10-100 times brighter than those surveyed by the pioneering Kepler mission. This will make TESS planets easier to characterize with follow-up observations. TESS is expected to find more than a thousand planets smaller than Neptune, including dozens that are comparable in size to the Earth. Public data releases will occur every four months, inviting immediate community-wide efforts to study the new planets. The TESS legacy will be a catalog of the nearest and brightest stars hosting transiting planets, which will endure as highly favorable targets for detailed investigations.
Okayama Astrophysical Observatory Wide Field Camera: OAOWFC is a near-infrared (0.9-2.5 μm) survey telescope, whose aperture is 0.91m. It works at Y, J, H, and Ks bands. The optics are consisted of forward Cassegrain and quasi Schmidt which yield the image circle of Φ 52 mm or Φ 1.3 deg at the focal plane. The overall F-ratio is F/2.51 which is one of the fastest among near infrared imagers in the world. A HAWAII-1 detector array placed at the focal plane cuts the central 0.48 deg. x 0.48 deg. with a pixel scale of 1.67 arcsec/pix. It will be used to survey the Galactic plane for variability and search for transients such as Gamma-ray burst afterglows optical counterpart of gravitational wave sources.
WF-MAXI is a soft X-ray transient monitor proposed for the ISS/JEM. Unlike MAXI, it will always cover a large field of view (20 % of the entire sky) to detect short transients more efficiently. In addition to the various transient sources seen by MAXI, we hope to localize X-ray counterparts of gravitational wave events, expected to be directly detected by Advanced-LIGO, Virgo and KAGRA in late 2010's. The main instrument, the Soft X-ray Large Solid Angle Cameras (SLC) is sensitive in the 0.7-12 keV band with a localization accuracy of ~ 0:1°. The Hard X-ray Monitor (HXM) covers the same sky field in the 20 keV-1 MeV band.
WF-MAXI is a mission to detect and localize X-ray transients with short-term variability as gravitational-wave (GW) candidates including gamma-ray bursts, supernovae etc. We are planning on starting observations by WF-MAXI to be ready for the initial operation of the next generation GW telescopes (e.g., KAGRA, Advanced LIGO etc.). WF-MAXI consists of two main instruments, Soft X-ray Large Solid Angle Camera (SLC) and Hard X-ray Monitor (HXM) which totally cover 0.7 keV to 1 MeV band. HXM is a multi-channel array of crystal scintillators coupled with APDs observing photons in the hard X-ray band with an effective area of above 100 cm2. We have developed an analog application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) dedicated for the readout of 32-channel APDs' signals using 0.35 μm CMOS technology based on Open IP project and an analog amplifier was designed to achieve a low-noise readout. The developed ASIC showed a low-noise performance of 2080 e- + 2.3 e-/pF at root mean square and with a reverse-type APD coupled to a Ce:GAGG crystal a good FWHM energy resolution of 6.9% for 662 keV -rays.
The joint JAXA/NASA ASTRO-H mission is the sixth in a series of highly successful X-ray missions developed by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), with a planned launch in 2015. The ASTRO-H mission is equipped with a suite of sensitive instruments with the highest energy resolution ever achieved at E > 3 keV and a wide energy range spanning four decades in energy from soft X-rays to gamma-rays. The simultaneous broad band pass, coupled with the high spectral resolution of ΔE ≤ 7 eV of the micro-calorimeter, will enable a wide variety of important science themes to be pursued. ASTRO-H is expected to provide breakthrough results in scientific areas as diverse as the large-scale structure of the Universe and its evolution, the behavior of matter in the gravitational strong field regime, the physical conditions in sites of cosmic-ray acceleration, and the distribution of dark matter in galaxy clusters at different redshifts.
To measure the polarization of gamma-ray bursts in X-ray energy band, we have developed a 50 kg micro-satellite named "SUBAME". The satellite has a compact and high-sensitive hard X-ray polarimeter employing newly-developed shock resistant multi-anode photomultipliers and Si avalanche photodiodes. Thanks to the ultra low-noise detectors and signal processors, the polarimeter can cover a wide energy range of 30200 keV even at 25°C with a high modulation factor of 62 %. TSUBAME is in the phase of final functional tests waiting for shipping to Baikonur and will be launched into a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 700 km in late 2014. In this paper, the pre-ight performance of the gamma-ray detector system and the satellite bus system are presented.
Wide-Field MAXI (WF-MAXI) planned to be installed in Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” Exposed Facility of the international space station (ISS). WF-MAXI consists of two types of cameras, Soft X-ray Large Solid Angle Camera (SLC) and Hard X-ray Monitor (HXM). HXM is multi-channel arrays of CsI scintillators coupled with avalanche photodiodes (APDs) which covers the energy range of 20 - 200 keV. SLC is arrays of CCD, which is evolved version of MAXI/SSC. Instead of slit and collimator in SSC, SLC is equipped with coded mask allowing its field of view to 20% of all sky at any given time, and its location determination accuracy to few arcminutes. In older to achieve larger effective area, the number of CCD chip and the size of each chip will be larger than that of SSC. We are planning to use 59 x 31 mm2 CCD chip provided by Hamamatsu Photonics. Each camera will be quipped with 16 CCDs and total of 4 cameras will be installed in WF-MAXI. Since SLC utilize X-ray CCDs it must equip active cooling system for CCDs. Instead of using the peltier cooler, we use mechanical coolers that are also employed in Astro-H. In this way we can cool the CCDs down to -100C. ISS orbit around the earth in 90 minutes; therefore a point source moves 4 arcminutes per second. In order to achieve location determination accuracy, we need fast readout from CCD. The pulse heights are stacked into a single row along the vertical direction. Charge is transferred continuously, thus the spatial information along the vertical direction is lost and replaced with the precise arrival time information. Currently we are making experimental model of the camera body including the CCD and electronics for the CCDs. In this paper, we show the development status of SLC.
We are now investigating and studying a small satellite mission HiZ-GUNDAM for future observation of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). The mission concept is to probe “the end of dark ages and the dawn of formation of astronomical objects”, i.e. the physical condition of early universe beyond the redshift z > 7. We will consider two kinds of mission payloads, (1) wide field X-ray imaging detectors for GRB discovery, and (2) a near infrared telescope with 30 cm in diameter to select the high-z GRB candidates effectively. In this paper, we explain some requirements to promote the GRB cosmology based on the past observations, and also introduce the mission concept of HiZ-GUNDAM and basic development of X-ray imaging detectors.
WISH, Wide-field Imaging Surveyor for High-redshiftt, is a space mission concept to conduct very deep and widefield
surveys at near infrared wavelength at 1-5μm to study the properties of galaxies at very high redshift beyond the
epoch of cosmic reionization. The concept has been developed and studied since 2008 to be proposed for future
JAXA/ISAS mission. WISH has a 1.5m-diameter primary mirror and a wide-field imager covering 850 arcmin2. The
pixel scale is 0.155 arcsec for 18μm pitch, which properly samples the diffraction-limited image at 1.5μm. The main
program is Ultra Deep Survey (UDS) covering 100 deg2 down to 28AB mag at least in five broad bands. We expect to
detect <104 galaxies at z=8-9, 103-104 galaxies at z=11-12, and 50-100 galaxies at z<14, many of which can be feasible
targets for deep spectroscopy with Extremely Large Telescopes. With recurrent deep observations, detection and light
curve monitoring for type-Ia SNe in rest-frame infrared wavelength is also conducted, which is another main science
goal of the mission. During the in-orbit 5 years observations, we expect to detect and monitor <2000 type-Ia SNe up to
z~2. WISH also conducts Ultra Wide Survey, covering 1000deg2 down to 24-25AB mag as well as Extreme Survey,
covering a limited number of fields of view down to 29-30AB mag. We here report the progress of the WISH project
including the basic telescope and satellite design as well as the results of the test for a proto-model of the flip-type filter
exchanger which works robustly near 100K.
The joint JAXA/NASA ASTRO-H mission is the sixth in a series of highly successful X-ray missions initiated
by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS). ASTRO-H will investigate the physics of the highenergy
universe via a suite of four instruments, covering a very wide energy range, from 0.3 keV to 600 keV.
These instruments include a high-resolution, high-throughput spectrometer sensitive over 0.3–12 keV with
high spectral resolution of ΔE ≦ 7 eV, enabled by a micro-calorimeter array located in the focal plane of
thin-foil X-ray optics; hard X-ray imaging spectrometers covering 5–80 keV, located in the focal plane of
multilayer-coated, focusing hard X-ray mirrors; a wide-field imaging spectrometer sensitive over 0.4–12 keV,
with an X-ray CCD camera in the focal plane of a soft X-ray telescope; and a non-focusing Compton-camera
type soft gamma-ray detector, sensitive in the 40–600 keV band. The simultaneous broad bandpass, coupled
with high spectral resolution, will enable the pursuit of a wide variety of important science themes.
Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are the most drastic and intriguing phenomena in high energy astrophysics. The nature of relativistic collimated outflows that bight be generated by gravitational collapses of massive stars is to investigate the physical process just around the central engines by constraining magnetic environment. For this purpose we developed a compact and high sensitive hard x-ray polarimeter aboard a university class micro-satellite "TSUBAME." Unsurprisingly, any micro-satellites have stringent limitations on size, mass, and power consumption restricting the effective area of detectors. However, high luminosities of GRBs allow us to measure their polarizations only if we start observations just after the ignitions. TSUBAME overcomes this problem by using compact an high-torque actuators, control moment gyroscopes, that enable high speed attitude control faster than 6° s-1. Cooperating with a wide field burst monitor on board for real time position determination of GRBs, TSUBAME can start a pointing observation within ~15 s after the detection for any GRBs in the half-sky field of view of the burst monitor.
WISH is a new space science mission concept whose primary goal is to study the first galaxies in the early universe.
We will launch a 1.5m telescope equipped with 1000 arcmin2 wide-field NIR camera by late 2010's in order to conduct
unique ultra-deep and wide-area sky surveys at 1-5 micron. The primary science goal of WISH mission is pushing the
high-redshift frontier beyond the epoch of reionization by utilizing its unique imaging capability and the dedicated
survey strategy. We expect to detect ~104 galaxies at z=8-9, ~3-6x103 galaxies at z=11-12, and ~50-100 galaxies at
z=14-17 within about 5 years of the planned mission life time. It is worth mentioning that a large fraction of these
objects may be bright enough for the spectroscopic observations with the extremely large telescopes. By adopting the optimized strategy for the recurrent observations to reach the depth, we also use the surveys to detect transient objects.
Type Ia Supernova cosmology is thus another important primary goal of WISH. A unique optical layout has been
developed to achieve the diffraction-limited imaging at 1-5micron over the required large area. Cooling the mirror and
telescope to ~100K is needed to achieve the zodiacal light limited imaging and WISH will achieve the required
temperature by passive cooling in the stable thermal environment at the orbit near Sun-Earth L2. We are conducting the
conceptual studies and development for the important components of WISH including the exchange mechanism for the
wide-field filters as well as the primary mirror fixation.
The joint JAXA/NASA ASTRO-H mission is the sixth in a series of highly successful X-ray missions initiated
by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS). ASTRO-H will investigate the physics of the
high-energy universe by performing high-resolution, high-throughput spectroscopy with moderate angular
resolution. ASTRO-H covers very wide energy range from 0.3 keV to 600 keV. ASTRO-H allows a combination
of wide band X-ray spectroscopy (5-80 keV) provided by multilayer coating, focusing hard X-ray
mirrors and hard X-ray imaging detectors, and high energy-resolution soft X-ray spectroscopy (0.3-12 keV)
provided by thin-foil X-ray optics and a micro-calorimeter array. The mission will also carry an X-ray CCD
camera as a focal plane detector for a soft X-ray telescope (0.4-12 keV) and a non-focusing soft gamma-ray
detector (40-600 keV) . The micro-calorimeter system is developed by an international collaboration led
by ISAS/JAXA and NASA. The simultaneous broad bandpass, coupled with high spectral resolution of
ΔE ~7 eV provided by the micro-calorimeter will enable a wide variety of important science themes to be
DIOS (Diffuse Intergalactic Oxygen Surveyor) is a small scientific satellite with a main aim for the search of warm-hot intergalactic medium using redshifted OVII and OVIII lines. The instrument will consist of a 4-stage X-ray telescope and an array of TES microcalorimeters with 256 pixels, cooled with mechanical coolers.
Hardware development of DIOS and the expected results are described. Survey observations over about 5° x 5° area will reveal new filamentary structures. DIOS will be proposed to the 3rd mission in JAXA's small satellite series in 2011, aiming for launch around 2016 if it will be selected.
MAXI, the first astronomical payload on JEM-EF of ISS, began operation on August 3, 2009 for monitoring all-sky
X-ray images every ISS orbit (92 min). All instruments as well as two main X-ray slit cameras, the GSC and SSC,
worked well as expected for one month test operation. The MAXI has been operated since August, 2009 and monitored
more than 300 X-ray sources, which include Galactic black holes and black hole candidates (BH/BHC), transient X-ray
pulsars, X-ray novae, X-ray bursts, CVns, a considerable number of AGNs and so on. Automatic nova-alert and rapid
report system is starting up, while we have published more than 30 results publicly on GCN and ATel with manual
analysis. We are also releasing daily data more than 200 targets publicly.
Now MAXI has continued steady operation since the beginning of 2010 although capability of a part of X-ray
detectors is going down from initial ability. We have obtained some remarkable results concerning BH/BHC, X-ray
pulsars and AGNs. As one of the results XTE J1752-223, an X-ray nova accompanying a black hole candidate, has
revealed an evolution of accretion disc and high energy plasma from the data for seven-month observations.
In this paper we report the operation status of MAXI on the ISS as well as early several astronomical results.
Cute-1.7+APD II is the third pico-satellite developed by students at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. One of
the primary goals of the mission is to validate the use of avalanche photodiodes (APDs) as a radiation detector
for the first time in a space experiment. The satellite was successfully launched by an ISRO PSLV-C9 rocket
in Apr 2008 and has since been in operation for more than 20 months. Cute-1.7+APD II carries two reversetype
APDs to monitor the distribution of low energy particles down to 9.2 keV trapped in a Low Earth Orbit
(LEO), including South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) as well as aurora bands. We present the design parameters
and various preflight tests of the APDs prior to launch, particularly, the high counting response and active
gain control system for the Cute-1.7+APD II mission. Examples of electron/proton distribution, obtained in
continuous 12-hour observations, will be presented to demonstrate the initial flight performance of the APDs in
MAXI (Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image) is a payload on board the International Space Station,
and will be launched on April 2009.
We report on the current development status on MAXI, in particular on the two types of X-ray camera (GSC and SSC),
and the simulation results of the MAXI observation.
SSC is a CCD camera.
The moderate energy resolution enables us to detect the various emission peak including 0.5 keV oxygen line.
The averaged energy resolution at the CCD temperature of -70 deg is 144.5 eV (FWHM) for 5.9 keV X-ray.
GSC includes proportional gas counters, which have large X-ray detection area (5350cm2).
The averaged position resolution of 1.1mm at 8 keV enable us to determined the celestial position of bright sources
within the accuracy of 0.1 degree.
The simulation study involving the results of performance test exhibits the high sensitivity of MAXI as designed.
Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI) is an X-ray all-sky monitor,
which will be delivered to the International Space Station (ISS)
by a space shuttle crew in early 2009,
to scan almost the entire sky once every 96 minutes for
a mission life of two to five years. The detection sensitivity will be
5 mCrab (5σlevel) for a one-day MAXI operation, 2 mCrab for one week,
and 1 mCrab for one month, reaching a source confusion limit of 0.2 mCrab in two years.
In this paper, brief descriptions are presented for the MAXI mission and payload, and
three operation phases, 1) the launch-to-docking phase, 2) the initial in-orbit calibration phase,
and 3) the routine operation phase. We also describes the MAXI data product and its release plan for public users.
How structures of various scales formed and evolved from the early Universe up to present time is a fundamental
question of astrophysics. EDGE will trace the cosmic history of the baryons from the early generations of massive
stars by Gamma-Ray Burst (GRB) explosions, through the period of galaxy cluster formation, down to the very low
redshift Universe, when between a third and one half of the baryons are expected to reside in cosmic filaments undergoing
gravitational collapse by dark matter (the so-called warm hot intragalactic medium). In addition EDGE, with its
unprecedented capabilities, will provide key results in many important fields. These scientific goals are feasible with a
medium class mission using existing technology combined with innovative instrumental and observational capabilities
by: (a) observing with fast reaction Gamma-Ray Bursts with a high spectral resolution (R ~ 500). This enables the study
of their (star-forming) environment and the use of GRBs as back lights of large scale cosmological structures; (b)
observing and surveying extended sources (galaxy clusters, WHIM) with high sensitivity using two wide field of view
X-ray telescopes (one with a high angular resolution and the other with a high spectral resolution). The mission concept
includes four main instruments: a Wide-field Spectrometer with excellent energy resolution (3 eV at 0.6 keV), a Wide-
Field Imager with high angular resolution (HPD 15") constant over the full 1.4 degree field of view, and a Wide Field
Monitor with a FOV of 1/4 of the sky, which will trigger the fast repointing to the GRB. Extension of its energy response
up to 1 MeV will be achieved with a GRB detector with no imaging capability. This mission is proposed to ESA as part
of the Cosmic Vision call. We will briefly review the science drivers and describe in more detail the payload of this
MAXI is the first payload to be attached on JEM-EF (Kibo exposed facility) of ISS. It provides an all sky X-ray image
every ISS orbit. If MAXI scans the sky during one week, it could make a milli-Crab X-ray all sky map excluding bright
region around the sun. Thus, MAXI does not only inform X-ray novae and transients rapidly to world astronomers if
once they occur, but also observes long-term variability of Galactic and extra-Galactic X-ray sources. MAXI also
provides an X-ray source catalogue at that time with diffuse cosmic X-ray background.
MAXI consists of two kinds of detectors, position sensitive gas-proportional counters for 2-30 keV X-rays and CCD
cameras for 0.5-10 keV X-rays. All instruments of MAXI are now in final phase of pre-launching tests of their flight
modules. We are also carrying out performance tests for X-ray detectors and collimators. Data processing and analysis
software including alert system on ground are being developed by mission team.
In this paper we report an overview of final instruments of MAXI and capability of MAXI.
We present our proposal for a small X-ray mission DIOS (Diffuse Intergalactic Oxygen Surveyor), consisting of
a 4-stage X-ray telescope and an array of TES microcalorimeters, cooled with mechanical coolers, with a total
weight of about 400 kg. The mission will perform survey observations of warm-hot intergalactic medium using
OVII and OVIII emission lines, with the energy coverage up to 1.5 keV. The wide field of view of about 50'
diameter, superior energy resolution close to 2 eV FWHM, and very low background will together enable us a
wide range of science for diffuse X-ray sources. We briefly describe the design of the satellite, performance of
the subsystems and the expected results.
Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI) is an X-ray all-sky scanner, which will be attached on Exposed Facility of Japanese Experiment Module dubbed "Kibo" of International Space Station (ISS). MAXI will be launched by the Space Shuttle or the Japanese H-IIA Transfer Vehicle (HTV) in 2008. MAXI carries two types of X-ray cameras: Solid-state Slit Camera (SSC) for 0.5-10 keV and Gas Slit Camera (GSC) for 2-30 keV bands. Both have long narrow fields of view (FOV) made by a slit and orthogonally arranged collimator plates (slats). The FOV will sweep almost the whole sky once every 96 minutes by utilizing the orbital motion of ISS. Then the light curve of an X-ray point source become triangular shape in one transit. In this paper, we present the actual triangular response of the GSC collimator, obtained by our calibration. In fact they are deformed by gaps between the slats, leaning angle of the slats, and the effective width of the slats. We are measuring these sizes by shooting X-ray beams into the detector behind the collimator. We summarize the calibration and present the first compilation of the data to make the GSC collimator response, which will be useful for public users.
Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image(MAXI) is an X-ray all sky monitor, which will be attached to the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) on the International Space Station (ISS) around the year 2008. MAXI carries two types of scientific instruments. The Gas Slit Camera(GSC) consists of twelve Xe filled one-dimensional position sensitive gas proportional counters sensitive to X-ray in 2-30 keV band. The Solid-state Slit Camera (SSC) is a set of X-ray CCD arrays sensitive to 0.5-10 keV photons. Both detectors are utilized in combination with a slit
and orthogonally arranged collimator plates to produce one-dimensional X-ray images along sky great circles. The instruments are now under fabrication and preflight testing. A detector response matrix (DRM) of GSC is also under development phase based on flight model calibration tests for counters and collimators. MAXI's
overall performance depends on not only hardware characteristics but on the fact that the field-of-view changes in time even during observations. To study this complicated situation, we are developing a software, DRM builder, and also a simulation software to evaluate "realistic" performance of GSC in ISS orbits.
The Polarized Gamma-ray Observer (PoGO) is a new balloon-borne instrument designed to measure polarization from astrophysical objects in the 30-200 keV range. It is under development for the first flight anticipated in 2008. PoGO is designed to minimize the background by an improved phoswich configuration, which enables a detection of 10 % polarization in a 100 mCrab source in a 6--8 hour observation. To achieve such high sensitivity, low energy response of the detector is important because the source count rate is generally dominated by the lowest energy photons. We have developed new PMT assemblies specifically designed for PoGO to read-out weak scintillation light of one photoelectron (1 p.e.) level. A beam test of a prototype detector array was conducted at the KEK Photon Factory, Tsukuba in Japan. The experimental data confirm that PoGO can detect polarization of 80-85 % polarized beam down to 30 keV with a modulation factor 0.25 ± 0.05.
Cute-1.7 is a pico-satellite mainly developed by students at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech). This will be the second satellite built at Tokyo Tech after the first one, CUTE-I, which was launched in June 2003. The configuration of Cute-1.7 is a 10 cm × 10 cm × 20 cm box with a mass of 2 kg. The engineering objective of Cute-1.7 is to validate commercially available products such as Personal Digital Assistances (PDAs) in the space environment, and to demonstrate a "satellite core concept" which is dividing a satellite into a bus component and a mission component to adopt various missions. The scientific objective is to demonstrate the performance of avalanche photo diodes (APDs) as future X-ray detectors used in the space environment. Results of this mission will provide the first feedback for a space application of APD such as Japan's future X-ray astronomy mission NeXT.
The NeXT mission has been proposed to study high-energy non-thermal phenomena in the universe. The high-energy response of the super mirror will enable us to perform the first sensitive imaging observations up to 80 keV. The focal plane detector, which combines a fully depleted X-ray CCD and a pixelated CdTe detector, will provide spectra and images in the wide energy range from 0.5 keV to 80 keV. In the soft gamma-ray band upto ~1 MeV, a narrow field-of-view Compton gamma-ray telescope utilizing several tens of layers of thin Si or CdTe detector will provide precise spectra with much higher sensitivity than present instruments. The continuum sensitivity will reach several x 10-8 photons/s/keV/cm2 in the hard X-ray region and a few x 10-7 photons/s/keV/cm2 in the soft gamma-ray region.
We propose a university-class micro-satellite "Hu-ring" to localize
and study gamma-ray bursts. The primary mission of "Hu-ring" is to
localize gamma-ray bursts with an 10 arcmin accuracy in real time, and
transmit promptly the coordinates to the ground. Although many of its
mission concepts are modeled after HETE-2, use of avalanche
photodiodes (APDs), innovative photon detector device, make it
possible to further reduce the size and the mass of the satellite. We
designed "Hu-ring" within a size of 50 cm cube and a weight limit of 50 kg, so that it can be launched as a piggy-back payload of the Japanese H-IIA Launch Vehicle. The satellite is spin-stabilized, and has a half-sky field of view centered on the anti-sun direction. A set of scintillation counters equipped with rotation modulation collimators are employed for localization of GRBs. We also measure the soft/medium X-ray spectra of GRBs using APDs as a direct X-ray photon detectors. These two kinds of instruments cover the 0.5--200 keV energy range. The satellite bus is designed mostly with commercially available components in order to reduce the cost and the lead time. Following the HETE-2 model, in order to receive the prompt burst alerts it is designed to rely on a global network of receive-only low-cost ground stations, which may be hosted at research instutions with a small footprint. We performed analyses in many aspects: mechanical and thermal design of the satellite bus, attitude control simulations, power budget, ground contact schedule and downlink capacity, etc. We verified that the mission goal can be achieved with this proposed design philosophy.
Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI) is an X-ray all-sky monitor,
which will be delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2008, to scan almost the whole sky once every 96 minutes for a mission life of two years. The detection sensitivity will be 7~mCrab (5σ level) in one scan, and 1~mCrab for one-week accumulation. At previous SPIE meetings, we presented the development status
of the MAXI payload, in particular its X-ray detectors. In this paper, we present the whole picture of the MAXI system, including the downlink path and the MAXI ground system. We also examine the MAXI system components other than X-ray detectors from the point of view of the overall performance of the mission. The engineering model test of the MAXI X-ray slit collimator shows that we can achieve the position determination accuracy of <0.1 degrees, required for the ease of follow-up observations. Assessing the downlink paths, we currently estimates that the MAXI ground system receive more than 50% of the observational data in "real time" (with time delay of a few to ten seconds), and the rest of data with delay of 20 minutes to a few hours from detection, depending on the timing of downlink. The data will be processed in easily-utilised formats, and made open to public users through the Internet.
We have developed a robotic telescope at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) to perform rapid follow-up observations of early optical afterglows of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). Our system was primarily designed to respond quickly to the GRB locations notified by the High Energy Transient Explorer 2 (HETE-2) satellite, but it can also respond to all the notifications provided by the GRB Coordinates Network (GCN). In order to cover the error circle of the HETE-2 wide-field and thermo-electrically cooled CCD camera is equipped on the focus of a small 30 cm telescope. A field of view of our system is 44 arcminutes which can cover the most error circles of the HETE-2. The rapid response (less than 15 sec after the notice) and slew speeds (6 deg/sec) make our system appropriate for observing GRB afterglows. Using this convenient system, we detected the optical afterglow of GRB 030329. Observation was started 67 minutes after the burst, which was one of the earliest detection in the world. We report the performance of our telescope coupled to CCD camera, and estimate the limiting magnitude of our system. Although our system is located in a region affected by strong city lights, the limiting magnitude is approximately 17.3 mag.
We report on the performance of the most recent avalanche photodiodes produced by Hamamatsu Photonics, as low-energy X-rays and γ-rays detectors. APDs share good features of both photo diodes and PMTs, as they are very compact, produce an internal gain of 10-100, and have a high quantum efficiency close to 100% in the visible right. Until very recently, however, APDs were limited to very small surfaces, and were mainly used as a digital device for light communication. We have developed large area (up to 10x10 mm2) APDs which can be used in the physics experiments. The best energy resolution of 6.4% (FWHM) was obtained in direct detection of 5.9 keV X-rays. The FWHM results of 9.4% and 4.9% were obtained for 59.5 keV and 662 keV γ-rays respectively, as measured with the CsI(Tl) crystal. The minimum detectable energy for the scintillation light was as low as 1 keV at lightly cooled environment (-20°C). Note that our results are the best records ever achieved with APDs. Various applications of APDs are presented for future space research and nuclear medicine. In particular 2-dimensional APD arrays will be a promising device for a wide-band X-ray and γ-ray imaging detector.
MAXI is an X-ray all-sky monitor which will be mounted on the Japanese Experimental Module (JEM) of the International Space Station (ISS) in 2008. The Gas Slit Camera (GSC) consists of 12 one-dimensional position sensitive proportional counters and the sensitivity will be as high as 1 mCrab for a one-week accumulation in the 2-30 keV band. In order to calibrate the detectors and electronic systems thoroughly before the launch, a fast and
versatile Ground Support Electronic (GSE) system is necessary. We have developed a new GSE based on VME I/O boards for a Linux workstation. These boards carry reconfigurable FPGAs of 100,000 gates, together with 16 Mbytes of SDRAM. As a demonstration application of using this GSE, we have tested the positional response of a GSC engineering counter. We present a schematic view of the GSE highlighting the functional design, together with a future vision of the ground testing of the GSC flight counters and digital associated processor.
The current status is reported of the development of Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image and the measurement of its observational response. MAXI is a scanning X-ray camera to be attached to the Japanese Experiment Module of the International Space Station in 2008. MAXI is mainly composed of two kinds of instruments, GSC which is sensitive to the 2 - 30 keV photons, and SSC to the 0.5 - 10 keV ones. As an X-ray all-sky monitor, MAXI has an unprecedented sensitivity of 7 mCrab in one orbit scan, and 1 mCrab in one week. Using the engineering mode of the proportional counter and of the collimator for GSC, the observational response of GSC is extensively measured. The acceptable performances are obtained as a whole for both the collimator and the counter. The engineering models of the other part of MAXI are also constructed and the measurement of their performance is ongoing.
We made one-dimensional detector arrays applying the newly developed Schottky CdTe technique. Two prototypes are manufactured; one consists of eight pixels of 2 x 2 x 0.5 mm3 each (2 mm module) and the other eight pixels of 25 x 2 x 0.5 mm3 each (25 mm module). The single element read-out test of the 2 mm module showed an energy resolution of ~1.7 keV at 59.5 keV, at 0°C for the bias voltage of 400 V. The 25 mm modules showed an energy resolution of ~4.5 keV at 59.5 keV at 0°C for the bias voltage of 300 V. Signals from the four sets of the CdTe modules (32 pixels in total) are read out by the VA/TA chips made by IDE company. The energy resolution of the 2 mm module is ~3.0 keV on average at 59.5 keV at room temperature for the bias voltage of 350 V. The 25 mm modules have an energy resolution of ~6.1 keV on average at 122.1 keV at room temperature for the bias voltage of 300 V. In view of these results, the manufactured arrays are promising as spectroscopic detectors for hard X-rays and γ-rays. A few modifications are needed in the VA/TA chips to be applied for the CdTe X-ray detector. Applications of CdTe detector arrays to a slit or coded-mask camera, and an imaging polarimeter are stated.
The Wide-field X-ray Monitor (WXM) is one of the scientific
instruments carried on the High Energy Transient Explorer 2 (HETE-2)
satellite launched in October 2000. The WXM consists of three elements: (1) four identical Xe-filled one-dimensional position-sensitive proportional counters, two in the spacecraft X-direction and two in the Y-direction, (2) two sets of one-dimensional coded apertures orthogonally mounted above the counters in the X and Y-direction, and (3) the main electronics that processes analog signals from the counters. The WXM counters are sensitive to X-rays between 2 keV and 25 keV within a field-of-view of about 1.5 sr with a total detector area of about 350 cm2. The combination of the apertures and the counters provides GRB locations with accuracy ~10 arcmin. The counters and electronics are developed and fabricated by RIKEN, and the apertures and on-board software are designed and provided by Los Alamos National Laboratory. The WXM plays a major roll in the GRB localization and its spectroscopy in the energy range between 2 keV and 25 keV. During the first year of observations, a number of steady X-ray sources as well as high-energy transients were detected with the WXM. Observing Crab nebula and Sco X-1, we have calibrated the detector alignment between the WXM and the optical camera system with 2 arcmin accuracy. As of 29 July 2002, nineteen GRBs have been localized with the WXM in the 18 months of stable operations. Twelve of them were reported to the GCN within a delay of 10 hours, and 4 optical transients were identified by ground based telescopes. The energy response of the detectors has also been calibrated using the Crab spectrum. We report the in-orbit performance of the WXM instrument during the first 18 months.