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Contratto ASI/Luna. Astrofisica delle Alte Energie. The observation and study of the Universe requires coordinated, if possible, contemporary observations in different windows of the Electromagnetic Spectrum.

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contratto asi luna

Contratto ASI/Luna

Astrofisica delle Alte Energie

The observation and study of the Universe requires coordinated, if possible, contemporary observations in different windows of the Electromagnetic Spectrum
The lack of atmosphere renders the Moon surface an appealing location for X and Gamma-ray telescopes.

However, to be competitive with the space instruments already in operations, we need

large X and gamma-ray telescopes that are far too big to be considered for space operations.

However, instruments do not perform better on the Moon.

Thus, to be competitive with the space instruments already in operations, we need large X and gamma-ray telescopes that are far too big to be considered for space operations.

The four Telescopes we have selected to explore the Universe in the energy band “few keV, many GeV”,

are transit instruments with no specific pointing requirements, (the sources will cross the instruments’ field of view at 0.5°/h at the Equator).

Placing the instruments on the Moon equatorial region would allow an even coverage of the sky and ease the communications.

Requirements for the “Lunar” AO

>> Four Instruments to explore the Sky in the few keV- many GeV energy band

>> The Instruments are not pointed but only aligned to a selected region of the sky, the sources will drift in the FOV.

>> All the pointings will be possible (when the Sun is not in the FOV)

>> 27 terrestrial days (one Lunar rotation) continuous observation.

>>High bit-rate communication with Earth.

>>Possibility to build the Observatory via a modular approach,

ASRIAll Sky X-ray Imager Energy Range: 0.5-60 KeV2 Detectors : 0.5-15 KeV, 5-60 KeVFoV 30 arcminAngular Resolution: 10 (5) arcsecEnergy Resolution: ΔE/E ~ 200Time resolution: no stringent requirements
scientific objectives
Scientific Objectives

to survey the sky in the 1-60 KeV energy band at flux levels much fainter than any survey has reached so far.

One million sources reaching redshift Z>4 for an area of 1000 square degrees.

Mirrors and Detectors will be mounted into two separate units which will be placed in the proper position by a robotic system.
Formation Flying for Astrophysics

SIMBOL-X : An X Ray Mission

~ [ 0,5keV – 70 to 80keV ]

Fig. 2.4: Segmented-shell design from the XEUS initial version. Segmented shells (top) are assembled into “petals” (middle) that compose the final optic system (bottom).

Possible mirrors configurations

Fig. 2.5: Pore Optics Design (from a XEUS second Design). Silicon chemically etched wafers (top left) are piled on a curved mandrel (top right) to form a square block (bottom left), with reflecting surfaces following a shell profile. Resulting blocks are mounted onto in a suitable support structure
tigre timing italian gamma ray experiment
TIGRETiming Italian Gamma Ray Experiment

Energy Range: 1-20 keV Timing only,

1-10 keV Imaging and Timing

FoV: Timing only half sky,

Slit collimator 1° x 60°,

Collimator and Mask: 60°x 60°

Total Geometric Area: 100 modules of 1 m2 =100 m2

Time resolution 10 μs

scientific objectives1
Scientific Objectives

Detailed study of individual cycles of Quasi Periodic Oscillations (QPOs) in Galactic binaries

Survey of X-ray pulsars

Temporal variability and quasi-periodicity during the prompt phase of gamma-ray bursts

High resolution timing study of bursts from magnetars

A pictorial view of one TIGRE module, in the configuration with the open sky view (top left panel); during the mask positioning (top right) and with the coded mask in place (bottom panel).
space competitors1

RXTE will stop in 1-2 y.

grim gamma ray imager
GRIMGamma Ray IMager

Energy Range: 0.03-1 MeV,

up to 10 MeV in 2 p mode

FoV: 4° x 4° , 33° x 33°

Angular resolution 0.7-7 arcmin

Energy resolution 1 % @100 keV

0.5% @511 keV

Total Geometric Area: 9 m2

Time resolution 5 μs

scientific objectives2
Scientific Objectives

Obscured sources,

Black Holes Physics

Neutron Star Physics and Transient Phenomena

GC Supermassive BH

Supermassive Black Holes in AGNs

GRB to probe the far Universe

GRIM Final Configurationbudget

Telescope (mask-detector) units

4 (2 m2 each)

Total detection area

9 (8 + 1) m2

No. of pixels



400 W (0.3 W/ch)


48 Mb/s (raw)

Detector weight

540 kg (CZT)

Mask weight

6800 kg (W)

Total coding Area

36 m2


Hopper or egg-crated type (graded structure)

Tl/W, Sn, Cu, 1 mm thick

Active shield

Plastic (surrounding the whole detector plane)

5 mm thick

pim plastic imager on the moon
PIMPlastic Imager on the Moon

Energy Range: 50- MeV 200 GeV

FoV: 3 sr.

Angular resolution few arcmin

Energy resolution < 10 %

Total Geometric Area: >> 1 m2

Time resolution tenth of nsec

scientific objectives3
Scientific Objectives
  • Gamma-Ray Burst
  • Galactic sources studies (all classes)
  • Diffuse emission from the Milky Way
  • Blazar and Active Galactic Nuclei
  • Isotropic diffuse emission
  • Test of Quantum gravity models
The four telescopes are “very big”, they cannot be sent to the Moon in just one flight unless a system like the one in the NASA “ESAS” study is available .

35 Ton + 10 Ton 10 Ton


X and gamma-ray astronomy could blossom on the Moon surface.

However, the flight opportunity of 2011 and 2012 is not suitable for the ambitious goals we have set for the Lunar A.O.


In view of the space competitors, it makes no sense to propose a small payload for the first flight opportunity.

A Payload in the 80 kg. range can accommodate only a test instrument or a technological demonstrator.

Such a “small” instrument could provide useful information for the detailed design of the future BIG TELESCOPES.