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Today's Colloquium: Athena, the Advanced Telescope for High-Energy Astrophysics

Submitter: Jan-Willem den Herder
Description: Athena is the ESA mission to study the Hot and Energetic Universe. It has been selected as second large-scale mission for a launch in 2028. The science is concentrated around the formation of large scale structures from the formation epoch to the present time (these structures have typical temperatures of 10^5-10^8 K and is therefore called the Hot Universe) and the study of the complete history of black hole evolution and its related physical processes (the Energetic Universe). In addition, it will return a wealth of data for many other areas of astrophysics.

The mission is based on a high-angular resolution mirror with a collecting area of 2m^2 at 1 keV and two instruments: a Wide field Camera which will enable a survey down to 2.7x10^-17 erg/s/cm^2 (over several degrees during the mission life-time) and an X-ray Integral Field Unit which allows high spectral resolution imaging over a modest field of View. The Netherlands is one of the major contributing countries: the technology for the mirror and for the read-out of the X-IFU detector has been pioneered in the Netherlands.

I will describe both the science capability as well as the instruments of Athena.
Copyright: Artist impression of the Athena mission (courtesy ESA)
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