Monday, May 6, 2013

1305.0792 (M. Hernanz et al.)

LOFT (Large Observatory For X-ray Timing): a candidate X-ray mission for the next decade    [PDF]

M. Hernanz, on behalf of the LOFT collaboration
LOFT is one of the four medium mission candidates (M3), selected by ESA in the framework of the Cosmic Vision Programme (2015-2025), for feasibility study. If approved by ESA in 2014, its launch is foreseen in 2022-2024. LOFT is being designed to observe X-ray sources with excellent temporal resolution and very good spectral capability. Its main objectives are to directly probe the motion of matter in the very close vicinity of black holes (Strong Field Gravity), as well as to study the physics of ultra dense matter (Neutron Stars). The payload includes a Large Area Detector (LAD) and a Wide Field Monitor (WFM). The LAD is a collimated (< 1 degree field of view) experiment operating in the energy range 2-30 keV, with a 10 m2 peak effective area and an energy resolution of 260 eV at 6 keV. The WFM will operate in almost the same energy range than the LAD, 2-50 keV, enabling simultaneous monitoring of a few-steradian wide field of view, with an angular resolution of < 5 arcmin. In addition to its main scientific objectives, LOFT will also do a complete plan of observatory science, studying with unprecedented detail in the 2-80 keV range several transient phenomena, like accreting white dwarfs in cataclysmic variables, novae in outburst (internal and external shocks in the ejecta in classical novae, and shocks with the wind of the companion in symbiotic recurrent novae) and post-outburst novae (once accretion is re established).
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