AXIS Advanced X-ray Imaging Satellite
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Type of Work18 pages
journal articles preprints
Citation of Original PublicationRichard F. Mushotzky, James Aird, et.al, The Advanced X-ray Imaging Satellite, Astrophysics ,High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena, 2019, https://arxiv.org/abs/1903.04083
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Much of the baryonic matter in the Universe, including the most active and luminous sources, are best studied in the X-ray band. Key advances in X-ray optics and detectors have paved the way for the Advanced X-ray Imaging Satellite (AXIS), a Probe-class mission that is a major improvement over Chandra, which has generated a steady stream of important discoveries for the past 2 decades. AXIS can be launched in the late 2020s and will transform our understanding in several major areas of astrophysics, including the growth and fueling of supermassive black holes, galaxy formation and evolution, the microphysics of cosmic plasmas, the time-variable universe, and a wide variety of cutting-edge studies. Relative to Chandra, the AXIS PSF is nearly twice as sharp on-axis; its field of view for subarcsecond imaging 70 times larger by area; its effective area at 1 keV is 10 times larger. The low-Earth orbit ensures a low and stable detector background, resulting in 50 times greater sensitivity than Chandra for extended sources. AXIS has a rapid repointing response with operations similar to Swift, but is 100 times more sensitive for time-domain science. These capabilities open up a vast discovery space and complement the next generation of astronomical observatories. A high-spectral-resolution mission (Athena) operating at the same time as a high-angular-resolution mission (AXIS) greatly increases the range of scientific discovery. AXIS will use lightweight X-ray optics made of thin single-crystal silicon mirrors developed at NASA Goddard. The detector array builds on a long legacy of X-ray CCD and provides improved photon localization, much faster readout time, and broader energy band. The estimated mission costs are consistent with the $1B Probe mission cost guideline.