XIPE, the X-ray Imaging Polarimetry Explorer, is a mission dedicated to X-ray Astronomy. At the time of
writing XIPE is in a competitive phase A as fourth medium size mission of ESA (M4). It promises to reopen the
polarimetry window in high energy Astrophysics after more than 4 decades thanks to a detector that efficiently
exploits the photoelectric effect and to X-ray optics with large effective area. XIPE uniqueness is time-spectrally-spatially-
resolved X-ray polarimetry as a breakthrough in high energy astrophysics and fundamental physics.
Indeed the payload consists of three Gas Pixel Detectors at the focus of three X-ray optics with a total effective
area larger than one XMM mirror but with a low weight. The payload is compatible with the fairing of the Vega
launcher. XIPE is designed as an observatory for X-ray astronomers with 75 % of the time dedicated to a Guest
Observer competitive program and it is organized as a consortium across Europe with main contributions from
Italy, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, Poland, Sweden.
The Large Observatory For x-ray Timing (LOFT) is a mission concept which was proposed to ESA as M3 and M4 candidate in the framework of the Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 program. Thanks to the unprecedented combination of effective area and spectral resolution of its main instrument and the uniquely large field of view of its wide field monitor, LOFT will be able to study the behaviour of matter in extreme conditions such as the strong gravitational field in the innermost regions close to black holes and neutron stars and the supra-nuclear densities in the interiors of neutron stars. The science payload is based on a Large Area Detector (LAD, >8m2 effective area, 2-30 keV, 240 eV spectral resolution, 1 degree collimated field of view) and a Wide Field Monitor (WFM, 2-50 keV, 4 steradian field of view, 1 arcmin source location accuracy, 300 eV spectral resolution). The WFM is equipped with an on-board system for bright events (e.g., GRB) localization. The trigger time and position of these events are broadcast to the ground within 30 s from discovery. In this paper we present the current technical and programmatic status of the mission.
The Large Observatory For x-ray Timing (LOFT) was studied within ESA M3 Cosmic Vision framework and participated in the final downselection for a launch slot in 2022-2024. Thanks to the unprecedented combination of effective area and spectral resolution of its main instrument, LOFT will study the behaviour of matter under extreme conditions, such as the strong gravitational field in the innermost regions of accretion flows close to black holes and neutron stars, and the supranuclear densities in the interior of neutron stars. The science payload is based on a Large Area Detector (LAD, 10 m2 effective area, 2-30 keV, 240 eV spectral resolution, 1° collimated field of view) and a Wide Field Monitor (WFM, 2-50 keV, 4 steradian field of view, 1 arcmin source location accuracy, 300 eV spectral resolution). The WFM is equipped with an on-board system for bright events (e.g. GRB) localization. The trigger time and position of these events are broadcast to the ground within 30 s from discovery. In this paper we present the status of the mission at the end of its Phase A study.
The LOFT mission concept is one of four candidates selected by ESA for the M3 launch opportunity as Medium Size missions of the Cosmic Vision programme. The launch window is currently planned for between 2022 and 2024. LOFT is designed to exploit the diagnostics of rapid X-ray flux and spectral variability that directly probe the motion of matter down to distances very close to black holes and neutron stars, as well as the physical state of ultradense matter. These primary science goals will be addressed by a payload composed of a Large Area Detector (LAD) and a Wide Field Monitor (WFM). The LAD is a collimated (<1 degree field of view) experiment operating in the energy range 2-50 keV, with a 10 m2 peak effective area and an energy resolution of 260 eV at 6 keV. The WFM will operate in the same energy range as the LAD, enabling simultaneous monitoring of a few-steradian wide field of view, with an angular resolution of <5 arcmin. The LAD and WFM experiments will allow us to investigate variability from submillisecond QPO’s to yearlong transient outbursts. In this paper we report the current status of the project.
The Monitor e Imageador de Raios-X (MIRAX) is a small (~250 kg) X-ray astronomy satellite mission
designed to monitor the central Galactic plane for transient phenomena. With a field-of-view of ~1000
square degrees and an angular resolution of ~6 arcmin, MIRAX will provide an unprecedented discovery-space
coverage to study X-ray variability in detail, from fast X-ray novae to long-term (~several months)
variable phenomena. Chiefly among MIRAX science objectives is its capability of providing simultaneous
complete temporal coverage of the evolution of a large number of accreting black holes, including a detailed
characterization of the spectral state transitions in these systems. MIRAX's instruments will include a soft X-ray
(2-18 keV) and two hard X-ray (10-200 keV) coded-aperture imagers, with sensitivities of ~5 and ~2.6
mCrab/day, respectively. The hard X-ray imagers will be built at the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas
Espaciais (INPE), Brazil, in close collaboration with the Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences (CASS)
of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and the Institut fur Astronomie und Astrophysik of the
University of Tubingen (IAAT) in Germany; UCSD will provide the crossed-strip position-sensitive (0.5-
mm spatial resolution) CdZnTe (CZT) hard X-ray detectors. The soft X-ray camera, provided by the Space
Research Organization Netherlands (SRON), will be the spare flight unit of the Wide Field Cameras that
flew on the Italian-Dutch satellite BeppoSAX. MIRAX is an approved mission of the Brazilian Space Agency
(Agnecia Espacial Brasileira - AEB) and is scheduled to be launched in 2011 in a low-altitude (~550 km)
circular equatorial orbit. In this paper we present recent developments in the mission planning and design, as
well as Monte Carlo simulations performed on the GEANT-based package MGGPOD environment
(Weidenspointner et al. 2004) and new algorithms for image digital processing. Simulated images of the
central Galactic plane as it would be seen by MIRAX are shown.
Monitor e Imageador de RAios-X (MIRAX) is a Brazilian high energy astronomy mission dedicated to monitoring the central 1000 sq. deg. of the Galactic plane to observe unpredictable transient phenomena from compact objects in the 2-200 keV range through nearly continuous imaging with good spatial/temporal/energy resolution. The strength of MIRAX lies in the departure of its observing strategy from traditional pointed programs and scanning monitors. MIRAX will achieve two major advantages over previous and existing missions. First, it will detect, localize, and study transient phenomena, which last on all timescales from milliseconds to years, and are very likely to be missed by traditional observing strategies. Second, MIRAX will study longer lived phenomena in exquisite detail. The mission elements and science will be presented.
We present the Event Pre Processor (EPP) for the Cadmium-Zinc-Telluride-strip detector of the Hard X-ray Imager (HXI) onboard of the MIRAX satellite. The purpose of the EPP is to provide an onboard data reduction and event filtering by applying a non linear energy gain correction for each detector strip. This data reduction is necessary because of the limited telemetry capacity of the MIRAX satellite. We decided to use hardwired data processing electronics based on a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) chip designed in VHDL. This solution allows us to combine high computation power with low power consumption. We discuss the functionality and status of the EPP design developed in T&diaeru;bingen.
We describe the hard x-ray mission MIRAX - jointly proposed by teams from Brazil, the USA, Germany and the Netherlands. The scientific objective is to provide continuous 2-200 keV imaging of the central 1000 square degrees of our Galaxy for 9 months per year over up to 5 years. Durign times when the sun crosses the Galactic Center other areas like the Cygnus-, Vela- and the Magellanic Cloud-regions can be observed. MIRAX will detect, localize, identify and study sources of medium to hard x-ray emission, with special emphasis on short-lived, rare and unpredictable events, including weak x-ray transients and fast x-ray movae. MIRAX will reach in a one day observation a sensitivity of 1mCrab in 2-10 keV and 2.5mCrab in 10-100keV. MIRAX will provide a unique capability to study compact galactic objects - notably accreting neutron stars and black holes. It will:- Probe neutron star and x-ray burst theory wiht 20,000 type I x-ray bursts and 50 'superbursts' - Measure spin frequencies of neutron stars from 10-100 burst oscillations - Observe explosive flares and x-ray light curves during ejections in superluminal jets - Study soft gamma-ray repeaters, fast x-ray novae and new types of phenomena yet to be discovered. We describe the science and the instrumentation.