X-ray optics for WHIMex, the Warm Hot Intergalactic Medium Explorer

Cash, W.; McEntaffer, R.; Zhang, W.; Casement, S.; Lillie, C.; Schattenburg, M.; Bautz, M.; Holland, A.; Tsunemi, H. and O’Dell, S (2011). X-ray optics for WHIMex, the Warm Hot Intergalactic Medium Explorer. In: 2011 SPIE Optics & Photonics Conference, 21-25 Aug 2011, San Diego.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1117/12.895014

URL: http://spiedigitallibrary.org/proceedings/resource...


The x-ray astronomy community has never flown a celestial source spectrograph that can resolve natural line widths in absorption the way the ultraviolet community did with OAO-3 Copernicus back in 1972. Yet there is important science to be mined there, and right now, the large flagship missions like the International X-ray Observatory are not progressing toward launch. WHIMEx is an Explorer concept proposed earlier this year to open up that science regime in the next few years. The concept features a modified off-plane grating spectrograph design that will support high resolution (λ/δλ ~ 4000) in the soft x-ray band with a high packing density that will enable a modest cost space mission. We discuss the design and capabilities for the WHIMEx mission. Its prime science goal is detecting high temperature oxygen in the Intergalactic Medium, but it has a broad range of science potential cutting across all of x-ray astronomy and should give us a new window on the Universe.

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