Space Science Reviews

, Volume 120, Issue 3, pp 165-195

First online:

The Swift X-Ray Telescope

  • David N. BurrowsAffiliated withPennsylvania State University Email author 
  • , J. E. HillAffiliated withPennsylvania State University
  • , J. A. NousekAffiliated withPennsylvania State University
  • , J. A. KenneaAffiliated withPennsylvania State University
  • , A. WellsAffiliated withSpace Research Centre, University of Leicester
  • , J. P. OsborneAffiliated withSpace Research Centre, University of Leicester
  • , A. F. AbbeyAffiliated withSpace Research Centre, University of Leicester
  • , A. BeardmoreAffiliated withSpace Research Centre, University of Leicester
  • , K. MukerjeeAffiliated withSpace Research Centre, University of Leicester
    • , A. D. T. ShortAffiliated withSpace Research Centre, University of Leicester
    • , G. ChincariniAffiliated withINAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera
    • , S. CampanaAffiliated withINAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera
    • , O. CitterioAffiliated withINAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera
    • , A. MorettiAffiliated withINAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera
    • , C. PaganiAffiliated withINAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera
    • , G. TagliaferriAffiliated withINAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera
    • , P. GiommiAffiliated withASI Science Data Center
    • , M. CapalbiAffiliated withASI Science Data Center
    • , F. TamburelliAffiliated withASI Science Data Center
    • , L. AngeliniAffiliated withNASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
    • , G. CusumanoAffiliated withINAF-Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica Sezione di Palermo
    • , H. W. BräuningerAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik
    • , W. BurkertAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik
    • , G. D. HartnerAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik

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he Swift Gamma-Ray Explorer is designed to make prompt multiwavelength observations of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and GRB afterglows. The X-ray telescope (XRT) enables Swift to determine GRB positions with a few arcseconds accuracy within 100 s of the burst onset.

The XRT utilizes a mirror set built for JET-X and an XMM-Newton/EPIC MOS CCD detector to provide a sensitive broad-band (0.2–10 keV) X-ray imager with effective area of > 120 cm2 at 1.5 keV, field of view of 23.6 × 23.6 arcminutes, and angular resolution of 18 arcseconds (HPD). The detection sensitivity is 2×10−14 erg cm−2 s−1 in 104 s. The instrument is designed to provide automated source detection and position reporting within 5 s of target acquisition. It can also measure the redshifts of GRBs with Fe line emission or other spectral features. The XRT operates in an auto-exposure mode, adjusting the CCD readout mode automatically to optimize the science return for each frame as the source intensity fades. The XRT will measure spectra and lightcurves of the GRB afterglow beginning about a minute after the burst and will follow each burst for days or weeks.


{gamma-ray burst X-ray telescope Swift X-ray instrumentation X-ray CCD detector X-ray mirrors