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Athena: Mission and Spanish participation

AuthorsCarrera, Francisco J.
Issue Date2019
PublisherSociedad Española de Astronomía
CitationHighlights on Spanish Astrophysics X, Proceedings of the XIII Scientific Meeting of the Spanish Astronomical Society: 1-6 (2019)
AbstractAthena (Advanced Telescope for High ENergy Astrophysics) is the X-ray observatory mission selected by ESA to address the Hot and Energetic Universe theme, due for launch in the early 2030s. Athena addresses three key scientific objectives: 1) Determine how and when large-scale hot gas structures formed in the Universe and track their evolution from the formation epoch to the present day. 2) Perform a complete census of black hole growth in the Universe, determine the physical processes responsible for that growth and its influence on larger scales, and trace these and other energetic and transient phenomena to the earliest cosmic epochs. 3) Provide a unique contribution to astrophysics in the 2030s by exploring high energy phenomena in all astrophysical contexts, including those yet to be discovered. From the unique perspective endowed to Athena by its unprecedented spectroscopic and imaging capabilities in the 0.5-12 keV range, this mission will lead the quest into solving these questions from its launch. The Athena mission concept is that of a single large-aperture grazing-incidence X-ray telescope, utilising a novel technology (Si pore optics) developed in Europe, with 12 m focal length and 5 arcsec HEW angular resolution. The focal plane contains two instruments. One is the Wide Field Imager (WFI) providing sensitive wide field of view imaging and low resolution spectroscopy, as well as bright source observation capability. The other one is the X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU) delivering spatially resolved high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy over a limited field of view. Synergies with other facilities (ESO, SKA, CTA, LISA, etc.) are being identified and developed. Spain has an important role in Athena, with a significant contribution to the X-IFU instrument, including the dewar for the detector cooling system, the algorithms for the on-board pulse detection software, and a leading scientific contribution. Spain also leads the Athena Community Office, set up to help optimising the participation of the more than 800 scientists which are helping to shape up the mission through its working groups.
DescriptionTrabajo presentado al XIII Scientific Meeting of the Spanish Astronomical Society, celebrado en la Universidad de Salamanca del 16 al 20 de julio de 2018.
Identifiersisbn: 978-84-09-09331-1
Appears in Collections:(IFCA) Libros y partes de libros
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