Institute of Astronomy

The Advanced X-ray Imaging Satellite : High-resolution X-ray astronomy in the 2030s

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Prof. Christopher Reynolds (IoA)26 April 2023Institute of Astronomy Seminars


The Advanced X-ray Imaging Satellite (AXIS) is a next generation high-resolution X-ray observatory, and is a response to NASA's call for Astrophysics Probe-class Explorer missions. Operating in the 0.3-12keV bandpass, AXIS will provide high-spatial resolution imaging (~1 arcsec) across a wide-field of view (24 arcmin diameter) with an order of magnitude more collecting area and sensitivity than our current capabilities (exemplified by the Chandra X-ray Observatory), while providing rapid response capabilities for transients sources. In this talk, I shall give an overview of the science of AXIS and the technology that makes it possible. AXIS will open new windows on the hot and dynamic Universe revealing the seeding mechanisms and early growth of supermassive black holes, the physics of feedback in galaxies, and the drivers behind explosive transients in the Universe. Launching in 2032, AXIS benefits from natural synergies with the Roman Space Telescope, the Rubin Observatory, ELTs, SKA, ALMA, ATHENA, and CTA. AXIS utilizes breakthroughs in the construction of lightweight X-ray optics from mono-crystalline silicon blocks, and developments in the fabrication of large format, low noise, high readout rate detectors allowing a robust and cost-effective design.


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