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See detailAthena+: The first Deep Universe X-ray Observatory
Barret, D.; Nandra, K.; Barcons, X. et al

in Cambresy, L.; Martins, F.; Nuss, E. (Eds.) et al SF2A-2013: Proceedings of the Annual meeting of the French Society of Astronomy and Astrophysics (2013, November 01)

The Advanced Telescope for High-energy Astrophysics (Athena+) is being proposed to ESA as the L2 mission (for a launch in 2028) and is specifically designed to answer two of the most pressing questions ... [more ▼]

The Advanced Telescope for High-energy Astrophysics (Athena+) is being proposed to ESA as the L2 mission (for a launch in 2028) and is specifically designed to answer two of the most pressing questions for astrophysics in the forthcoming decade: How did ordinary matter assemble into the large scale structures we see today? and how do black holes grow and shape the Universe? For addressing these two issues, Athena+ will provide transformational capabilities in terms of angular resolution, effective area, spectral resolution, grasp, that will make it the most powerful X-ray observatory ever flown. Such an observatory, when opened to the astronomical community, will be used for virtually all classes of astrophysical objects, from high-z gamma-ray bursts to the closest planets in our solar neighborhood. In this paper, we briefly review the core science objectives of Athena+, present the science requirements and the foreseen implementation of the mission, and illustrate its transformational capabilities compared to existing facilities. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Hot and Energetic Universe: The X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU) for Athena+
Barret, D.; den Herder, J. W.; Piro, L. et al

Report (2013)

The Athena+ mission concept is designed to implement the Hot and Energetic Universe science theme submitted to the European Space Agency in response to the call for White Papers for the definition of the ... [more ▼]

The Athena+ mission concept is designed to implement the Hot and Energetic Universe science theme submitted to the European Space Agency in response to the call for White Papers for the definition of the L2 and L3 missions of its science program. The Athena+ science payload consists of a large aperture high angular resolution X-ray optics and twelve meters away, two interchangeable focal plane instruments: the X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU) and the Wide Field Imager (WFI). The X-IFU is a cryogenic X-ray spectrometer, based on a large array of Transition Edge Sensors (TES), offering 2.5 eV spectral resolution, with ~5" pixels, over a field of view of 5 arc minutes in diameter. In this paper, we briefly describe the Athena+ mission concept and the X-IFU performance requirements. We then present the X-IFU detector and readout electronics principles, the current design of the focal plane assembly, the cooling chain and review the global architecture design. Finally, we describe the current performance estimates, in terms of effective area, particle background rejection, count rate capability and velocity measurements. Finally, we emphasize on the latest technology developments concerning TES array fabrication, spectral resolution and readout performance achieved to show that significant progresses are being accomplished towards the demanding X-IFU requirements. [less ▲]

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See detailThe x-ray microcalorimeter spectrometer onboard Athena
den Herder, J. W.; Bagnali, D.; Bandler, S. et al

in Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) Conference Series (2012, September 01)

One of the instruments on the Advanced Telescope for High-Energy Astrophysics (Athena) which was one of the three missions under study as one of the L-class missions of ESA, is the X-ray Microcalorimeter ... [more ▼]

One of the instruments on the Advanced Telescope for High-Energy Astrophysics (Athena) which was one of the three missions under study as one of the L-class missions of ESA, is the X-ray Microcalorimeter Spectrometer (XMS). This instrument, which will provide high-spectral resolution images, is based on X-ray micro-calorimeters with Transition Edge Sensor (TES) and absorbers that consist of metal and semi-metal layers and a multiplexed SQUID readout. The array (32 x 32 pixels) provides an energy resolution of < 3 eV. Due to the large collection area of the Athena optics, the XMS instrument must be capable of processing high counting rates, while maintaining the spectral resolution and a low deadtime. In addition, an anti-coincidence detector is required to suppress the particle-induced background. Compared to the requirements for the same instrument on IXO, the performance requirements have been relaxed to fit into the much more restricted boundary conditions of Athena. In this paper we illustrate some of the science achievable with the instrument. We describe the results of design studies for the focal plane assembly and the cooling systems. Also, the system and its required spacecraft resources will be given. [less ▲]

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