STROBE-X: X-ray Timing and Spectroscopy on Dynamical Timescales from Microseconds to Years: A Probe Class Mission Concept APC White Paper Submitted to Astro 2020 Decadal Survey

STROBE-X Steering Committee & Working Group

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Abstract

STROBE-X is a probe-class ($0.5-1B) mission concept, selected for study by NASA, for X-ray spectral timing of compact objects across the mass scale. It combines huge collecting area, high X-ray throughput, broad energy coverage, and excellent spectral and temporal resolution in a single facility. The mission carries three instruments: the 0.2{12 keV X-ray Concentrator Array (XRCA), the 2-30 keV Large Area Detector (LAD), and the 2-50 keV Wide-Field Monitor (WFM). All
are based on demonstrated technology: XRCA scales up from a small modification of the ightproven optics and detectors from NICER, while LAD and WFM are based on large-area silicon drift detectors previously developed for the ALICE/LHC high-energy physics experiment at CERN. Through advances in silicon detector and microchannel plate collimator technologies over the past two decades, STROBE-X delivers an order-of-magnitude increase in sensitivity relative to
previous missions. In the soft X-ray band, its collecting area is 20x larger than XMM/pn and 10x larger than NICER. In the hard X-ray band, it has superior spectral resolution and 9 times the area of RXTE, which had the equivalent of a probe-class budget in the 1990s. Crucially, STROBE-X provides 25x the area in the 6-7 keV Fe Kα line region as future missions Athena and Lynx, making it far more sensitive to variability of this key diagnostic line. These advances
greatly increase the power of X-ray spectral timing techniques for Galactic sources and extend their reach to extragalactic targets for the first time. STROBE-X is also an agile mission capable of rapid response to transient events, making it an essential X-ray partner facility in the era of time-domain, multi-wavelength and multi-messenger astronomy. As requested in the APC call, this document is a self-contained, condensed version of the full 50-page STROBE-X study report submitted to NASA, which is available at arXiv:1903.03035.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Astronomical Society. Bulletin (Online)
Volume51
Issue number7
Number of pages13
ISSN2330-9458
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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