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The Athena X-ray Observatory: Community Support Portal

  • Athena: revealing the Hot and Energetic Universe

    Athena: revealing the Hot and Energetic Universe

  • Where are the hot baryons and how do they evolve?

  • Reveal the causes and effects of cosmic feedback

  • Track obscured accretion through the epoch of galaxy formation

  • Understand the physics of accretion onto compact objects

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SXA 2017The Spanish X-ray astronomy community gathered together in Granada from 23rd to 25th of October 2017. The meeting was held at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA) and was sponsored by the Red de Infraestructuras de Astronomía (RIA). The conference was focussed in the Athena mission, the Spanish contribution to the project and the scientific synergies between Athena and other astronomical facilities (GTC, SKA, CTA, Gemini/OCTOCAM, and other future projects).

The meeting included nine invited talks dedicated to Athena, which will be available on this web portal under the Resources/Presentations menu. The first talk, given by Francisco Carrera (ACO lead), was a general presentation of the project. The WFI and X-IFU instruments were presented by Arne Rau (WFI Project Scientist) and Didier Barret (X-IFU Principal Investigator). While Giovanni Miniutti and Javier Gómez-Elvira talked about the Spanish scientific and technological contributions to the mission, respectively. The scientific synergies between Athena and other astronomical facilities were discussed in three talks by Iván Agudo, Romano Corradi and Antonio de Ugarte. The last invited talk by Silvia Martínez-Núñez (ACO manager) dealt with the Athena Community Office.

During this meeting, the Spanish X-ray astronomy community presented relevant scientific results in a wide range of topics, covering many scientific objectives of the Athena mission. As a general conclusion, the Spanish X-ray astronomy community is expecting to work with Athena, since as discussed in the meeting it will be a transformational observatory in many corners of the astrophysics.

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Advanced Telescope for High Energy Astrophysics

 

Athena (Advanced Telescope for High ENergy Astrophysics) is the X-ray observatory mission selected by ESA, within its Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 programme, to address the Hot and Energetic Universe scientific theme. It is the second L(large)-class mission within that programme and is due for launch in 2028.

Athena will study how hot baryons assemble into groups and clusters of galaxies, determine their chemical enrichment across cosmic time, measure their mechanical energy and characterise the missing baryons which are expected to reside in intergalactic filamentary structures. At the same time, it will study the physics of accretion into compact objects, find the earliest accreting supermassive black holes and trace their growth even when in very obscured environment, and show how they influence the evolution of galaxies and clusters through feedback processes. Athena will also have a fast target of opportunity observational capability, enabling studies and usage of GRBs and other transient phenomena. As an observatory, Athena will offer vital information on high-energy phenomena on all classes of astrophysical objects, from solar system bodies to the most distant objects known. See Science chapter for more details.

Athena will consist of a single large-aperture grazing-incidence X-ray telescope, utilizing a novel technology (High-performance Si pore optics) developed in Europe, with 12m focal length and 5 arcsec HEW on-axis angular resolution. The focal plane contains two instruments. One is the Wide Field Imager (WFI) providing sensitive wide field imaging and spectroscopy and high count-rate capability. The other one is the X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU) delivering spatially resolved high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy over a limited field of view. See Mission chapter for more details.

With its unparalleled capabilities, Athena will be a truly transformational observatory, operating in conjunction with other large observatories across the electromagnetic spectrum available in the late 2020s (like ALMA, ELT, JWST, SKA, CTA, etc).