X-ray polarimetry with the Polarization Spectroscopic Telescope Array (PolSTAR)

Henric S. Krawczynski, Daniel Stern, Fiona A. Harrison, Fabian F. Kislat, Anna Zajczyk, Matthias Beilicke, Janie Hoormann, Qingzhen Guo, Ryan Endsley, Adam R. Ingram, Finn Erland Christensen

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This paper describes the Polarization Spectroscopic Telescope Array (PolSTAR), a mission proposed to NASA's 2014 Small Explorer (SMEX) announcement of opportunity. PolSTAR measures the linear polarization of 3-50 keV (requirement; goal: 2.5-70 keV) X-rays probing the behavior of matter,radiation and the very fabric of spacetime under the extreme conditions close to the event horizons of black holes, as well as in and around magnetars and neutron stars. The PolSTAR design is based on the technology developed for the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) mission launched in June 2012.In particular, it uses the same X-ray optics, extendable telescope boom,optical bench, and CdZnTe detectors as NuSTAR. The mission has the sensitivity to measure ~1% linear polarization fractions for X-ray sources with fluxes down to ~5 mCrab. This paper describes the PolSTAR design as well as the science drivers and the potential science return.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAstroparticle Physics
Pages (from-to)8-28
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

For a complete author list see article.


  • X-ray polarimetry
  • Astronomical instrumentation
  • Black holes
  • Neutron stars
  • Blazars
  • General relativity

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