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Galactic background radiation has been observed in the 78-111 eV Be band using 5000 Å beryllium filters in front of a thin-window proportional counter collimated to a 15° full width at half maximum field of view. Be band data have been analyzed from two sounding rocket flights (Bloch et al. 1986, Juda 1988) that viewed seventeen different directions distributed over the northern galactic hemisphere. In Figure 1 the pointing directions of the two flights are indicated on a map from McCammon et al. (1983) of the 130-188 eV B band count rate.
The X-ray Timing Explorer (XTE) is a NASA satellite designed to perform high-time-resolution studies of known X-ray sources. The two main experiments are a large-area proportional counter array (PCA) from the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and a high-energy X-ray timing experiment (HEXTE) from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). The PCA data is processed by an electronic data system (EDS) built by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that performs many parallel processing analysis functions for on-board evaluation and data compression. MIT also provide an all-sky monitor (ASM) experiment so that XTE can be slewed rapidly to new transient sources. The spacecraft provides a mean science telemetry rate for the PCA of ~20 kilobits per second (kbps), with bursts to 256 kbps for durations of 30 minutes. Photons are tagged to 1 μs and absolute timing should be better than 100 μs. XTE is due for launch in late August 1995 and the first NASA Research Announcement (NRA) is due out in January 1995. This paper summarises XTE’s performance and then discusses the interactive and flexible operations of the satellite and some of the science it can do. These features should make XTE a productive spacecraft for coordinated observation programs.
The capabilities of the X-ray Timing Explorer (XTE) are described with particular attention paid to current scientific problems it will address from galactic neutron star systems to active galactic nuclei. It features a low-background continuous 2-200 keV response with large apertures (a 0.63-m2 proportional counter array and a 0.16-m2 dual rocking NaI/CsI scintillation array). Rapid response (in hours) to temporal phenomena, e.g. transients, is obtained by virtue of a scanning all-sky monitor and rapid maneuverability. XTE will carry out detailed energy-resolved studies of phenomena close to neutron stars (e.g. QPO’s) because of its sub-millisecond timing (to 10 μs), its high telemetry rates (to 256 kb/s), and the high throughput of its data system (to ≳ 2 × 105 c s−1).
We present results of a search for small scale H I structure at high galactic latitudes using the NRAO 140 foot telescope, which has a 21' beam at 21 cm. We examined randomly selected 4° x 5° regions, as well as regions of particularly low total column density. The amount of apparent structure is small in directions with total column densities of a few times 1020 cm-2.
The BBXRT observed nine supernova remnants during its nine-day flight. We present preliminary results from some of these observations, emphasizing the ability of BBXRT to perform spatially resolved spectroscopy. The improved spectral resolution and efficiency over previous instruments makes possible measurements of previously undetectable lines, and the broad bandpass allows simultaneous measurement of lines from oxygen through iron.
The prime scientific objectives of the NASA Small Explorer mission, Gravity and Extreme Magnetism SMEX, or “GEMS”, are to determine the effects of the spin of black holes, the configurations of the magnetic fields of magnetars, and the structure of the supernova shocks which accelerate cosmic rays. In the cases of both stellar black holes and supermassive black holes, sensitivity to 1% polarization is needed to make diagnostic measurements of the net polarizations predicted for probable disk and corona models. GEMS can reach this goal for several Seyferts and quasars and measure the polarizations of representatives of a variety of other classes of X-ray sources, such as rotation-powered and accretion-powered pulsars. GEMS uses foil mirrors to maximize the collecting area achievable within the SMEX constraints. The polarimeters at the mirror foci are time projection chambers which use the photoelectic effect to measure the polarization of the incident photon. We have built laboratory models with good efficiency and modulation in the 2–10 keV range. An attached small student experiment would add 0.5 keV sensitivity for bright, soft sources. The instrument has a point spread function which allows measurement of structures in the brighter nearby supernova remnants. GEMS' Orbital Sciences spacecraft will rotate at a rate of 0.1 revolutions per minute during observations, so that systematic errors due to the detector can be detected and corrected. A program of 35 sources can be observed in 9 months. […]
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