PDA

View Full Version : Generation-X telescope



Blob
2006-Jul-20, 03:37 PM
Generation-X (http://generation-x.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/mission/concepts.html), the next high resolution X-ray observatory, with 100 square meters of effective area and 0.1 arcsecond angular resolution, will have 1,000 times greater sensitivity than current X-ray telescopes.

"To reach the sensitivity required to image these first discrete objects in the universe needs a major advance in X-ray optics" - Prof. Martin Elvis, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics (SAO), at a scientific session of the ongoing 36th Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) Scientific Assembly in Beijing.

The scientific goals for Generation-X include studying galaxies, the first generations of stars and black holes and their evolution.

antoniseb
2006-Jul-20, 04:23 PM
One of the goals is to observe z=10 quasars. This is a very interesting thing to observe. I was kind of curious about the angular resolution. The conficuration their speaking of and the wavelengths they'll be studying should let them get into the 100 nanoarcsecond range. That would almost allow direct observation of the event horizon of Sgr A*. But for some reason the mission isn't promising that.

ngc3314
2006-Jul-20, 06:50 PM
One of the goals is to observe z=10 quasars. This is a very interesting thing to observe. I was kind of curious about the angular resolution. The conficuration their speaking of and the wavelengths they'll be studying should let them get into the 100 nanoarcsecond range. That would almost allow direct observation of the event horizon of Sgr A*. But for some reason the mission isn't promising that.

As I understand it, the resolution limitation comes from what we know how to do in polishing and supporting the grazing-incidence mirrors. The Chandra experience has had many folks feeling that they cost so much that doing significantly better will have to await a very new approach. (On the other hand, the Chandra optics deliver images better than the detectors can use - 0.17 arcsecond half-power width, only approached in reconstructed images with very delicate processing on dithered exposures of targets such as SN 1987A). The effective area and mirror size for such proposals as Con-X and Gen-X are set by the light-grasp for adequate detection and a decision as to when the angular resolution is good enough for the main science goals (both of which feed back strongly to that major figure of merit, mission cost).