Institute of Astronomy

The Athena X-ray observatory in the late 2020s Astronomy landscape

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Xavier Barcons (IFCA (CSIC-UC))16 February 2017Institute of Astronomy Colloquia


The Athena X-ray mission will be ESA's next large observatory, conceived to explore the hot and energetic Universe in the late 2020s. Athena will consist of a large effective area X-ray telescope, with two instruments on its focal plane (WFI and X-IFU) delivering sensitive wide-field X-ray imaging, timing and spatially resolved high-resolution spectroscopy.  Its science objectives focus on the dynamical, thermal and chemical evolution of the hot baryonic component of the Universe, both in clusters and in the general warm and hot intergalactic medium, as well on the physics the very energetic phenomena around black holes, ultimately responsible for AGN feedback on galaxy and cluster scales. In the late 2020s, Athena will not work in isolation, but will be part of a set of large observational facilities across the electromagnetic spectrum (including ALMA, E-ELT, SKA, CTA and others). In this colloquium, I will present the Athena mission concept, the project status and its science objectives, with particular emphasis on the scientific synergies with these other flagships, and the unique science to be delivered.