The Swift X-ray telescope: Status and performance

David N. Burrows, J. A. Kennea, A. F. Abbey, A. Beardmore, S. Campana, M. Capalbi, G. Chincarini, G. Cusumano, P. A. Evans, J. E. Hill, P. Giommi, M. Goad, O. Godet, A. Moretti, D. C. Morris, J. P. Osborne, C. Pagani, K. L. Page, M. Perri, J. RacusinP. Romano, R. L.C. Starling, G. Tagliaferri, F. Tamburelli, L. G. Tyler, R. Willingale

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

10 Scopus citations


We present science highlights and performance from the Swift X-ray Telescope (XRT), which was launched on November 20, 2004. The XRT covers the 0.2-10 keV band, and spends most of its time observing gamma-ray burst (GRB) afterglows, though it has also performed observations of many other objects. By mid-August 2007, the XRT had observed over 220 GRB afterglows, detecting about 96% of them. The XRT positions enable followup ground-based optical observations, with roughly 60% of the afterglows detected at optical or near IR wavelengths. Redshifts are measured for 33% of X-ray afterglows. Science highlights include the discovery of flaring behavior at quite late times, with implications for GRB central engines; localization of short GRBs, leading to observational support for compact merger progenitors for this class of bursts; a mysterious plateau phase to GRB afterglows; as well as many other interesting observations such as X-ray emission from comets, novae, galactic transients, and other objects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Space Instrumentation for Astronomy XV
StatePublished - 2007
EventUV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Space Instrumentation for Astronomy XV - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 26 2007Aug 27 2007

Publication series

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


OtherUV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Space Instrumentation for Astronomy XV
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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