Athena is currently under study by ESA, and the mission architecture is only in a
preliminary state. The baseline concept is, however, as follows:
A preliminary set of Science requirements for the Athena
mission is given here .
- The heart of the Athena mission is a pair of high-throughput
X-ray telescopes ,
based on ultra-lightweight Silicon Pore Optics (SPO) technology developed by ESA.
The focal length of each telescope is approximately 11.5m.
- At one focal plane is an imaging calorimeter spectrometer
, based on transition edge
sensor technology, which provides an unprecedented combination of spectral
resolution and effective area in the X-ray band.
- The other telescope feeds a wide field imager
, based on Silicon active pixel sensor
technology, which provides a large field of view for broad-band X-ray surveys and
imaging, with near Fano limited energy resolution and high count-rate capability.
- Athena will be launched into a halo orbit at the Sun-Earth L2 (2nd Lagrangian point),
which provides for high observing efficiency, uninterrupted observations, and a
benign thermal environment.
© High-Energy-Group at MPE
last update: 24-Apr-2011, by Thomas Boller and Joachim Paul