High-resolution x-ray telescopes

Stephen L. O'Dell, Roger J. Brissenden, William N. Davis, Ronald F. Elsner, Martin S. Elvis, Mark D. Freeman, Terrance Gaetz, Paul Gorenstein, Mikhail V. Gubarev, Diab Jerius, Michael Juda, Jeffery J. Kolodziejczak, Stephen S. Murray, Robert Petre, William Podgorski, Brian D. Ramsey, Paul B. Reid, Timo Saha, Daniel A. Schwartz, Susan Trolier-McKinstryMartin C. Weisskopf, Rudeger H.T. Wilke, Scott Wolk, William W. Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

29 Scopus citations


High-energy astrophysics is a relatively young scientific field, made possible by space-borne telescopes. During the half-century history of x-ray astronomy, the sensitivity of focusing x-ray telescopes - through finer angular resolution and increased effective area - has improved by a factor of a 100 million. This technological advance has enabled numerous exciting discoveries and increasingly detailed study of the high-energy universe - including accreting (stellarmass and super-massive) black holes, accreting and isolated neutron stars, pulsar-wind nebulae, shocked plasma in supernova remnants, and hot thermal plasma in clusters of galaxies. As the largest structures in the universe, galaxy clusters constitute a unique laboratory for measuring the gravitational effects of dark matter and of dark energy. Here, we review the history of high-resolution x-ray telescopes and highlight some of the scientific results enabled by these telescopes. Next, we describe the planned next-generation x-ray-astronomy facility - the International X-ray Observatory (IXO). We conclude with an overview of a concept for the next next-generation facility - Generation X. The scientific objectives of such a mission will require very large areas (about 10000 m2) of highly-nested lightweight grazing-incidence mirrors with exceptional (about 0.1-arcsecond) angular resolution. Achieving this angular resolution with lightweight mirrors will likely require on-orbit adjustment of alignment and figure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdaptive X-Ray Optics
StatePublished - 2010
EventAdaptive X-Ray Optics - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 3 2010Aug 5 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherAdaptive X-Ray Optics
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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