Exploring rapid transient detection with the Athena Wide Field Imager

Pragati Pradhan, Abraham D. Falcone, Jamie A. Kennea, David N. Burrows

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


X-ray transients are among the most enigmatic objects in the cosmic sky. In recent years, the unpredictability and underlying nature of their transient behavior has prompted many studies. While significant progress has been made in this field, a more complete understanding of such events is often hampered by the delay in the rapid follow-up of any transient event. An efficient way to mitigate this constraint would be to devise a way for near real-time detection of such transient phenomena. The Advanced Telescope for High-Energy Astrophysics/Wide Field Imager (Athena/WFI), with its 40 ′ × 40 ′ field of view and large effective area, will detect a large number of x-ray variable or transient objects daily. We discuss an algorithm for the rapid onboard or ground-based detection of x-ray transients with WFI. We present a feasibility test of the algorithm using simulated Athena WFI data and show that a fairly simple algorithm can effectively detect transient and variable sources in typical Athena WFI observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number038002
JournalJournal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Instrumentation
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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