Original Article

Experimental Astronomy

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 131-137

Development of the HEFT and NuSTAR focusing telescopes

  • Fiona A. HarrisonAffiliated withSpace Radiation Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
  • , Finn E. ChristensenAffiliated withDanish National Space Centre
  • , William CraigAffiliated withLawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • , Charles HaileyAffiliated withColumbia Astrophysics Laboratory, Columbia University
  • , Wayne BaumgartnerAffiliated withSpace Radiation Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
  • , C. M. H. ChenAffiliated withSpace Radiation Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
  • , James ChonkoAffiliated withLawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • , W. Rick CookAffiliated withSpace Radiation Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
  • , Jason KoglinAffiliated withColumbia Astrophysics Laboratory, Columbia University
    • , Kristin-Kruse MadsenAffiliated withDanish National Space Centre
    • , Michael PivavoroffAffiliated withLawrence Livermore National Laboratory
    • , Steven BoggsAffiliated withUniversity of California
    • , David SmithAffiliated withUniversity of California

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Abstract

Hard X-ray/soft gamma-ray astrophysics is on the verge of a major advance with the practical realization of technologies capable of efficiently focusing X-rays above 10 keV. Hard X-ray focusing telescopes can achieve orders of magnitude improvements in sensitivity compared to the instruments based on coded apertures and collimated detectors that have traditionally been employed in this energy band. Compact focal planes enable high-performance detectors with good spectral resolution to be employed in efficient, low-background configurations. We have developed multilayer coated grazing incidence optics and solid state Cadmium Zinc Telluride focal plane systems for the High Energy Focusing Telescope (HEFT) balloon-borne experiment, and for the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) Small Explorer satellite. In this paper we describe the technologies, telescope designs, and performance of both experiments.

Keywords

X-ray telescopes X-ray optics X-ray detectors