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First Wide Field-of-view X-Ray Observations by a Lobster-eye Focusing Telescope in Orbit

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posted on 2024-01-23, 11:27 authored by C Zhang, ZX Ling, XJ Sun, SL Sun, Y Liu, ZD Li, YL Xue, YF Chen, YF Dai, ZQ Jia, HY Liu, XF Zhang, YH Zhang, SN Zhang, FS Chen, ZW Cheng, W Fu, YX Han, H Li, JF Li, Y Li, PR Liu, XH Ma, YJ Tang, CB Wang, RJ Xie, AL Yan, Q Zhang, BW Jiang, G Jin, LH Li, XB Qiu, DT Su, JN Sun, Z Xu, SK Zhang, Z Zhang, N Zhang, XZ Bi, ZM Cai, JW He, HQ Liu, XC Zhu, HQ Cheng, CZ Cui, DW Fan, HB Hu, MH Huang, CC Jin, DY Li, HW Pan, WX Wang, YF Xu, X Yang, B Zhang, M Zhang, WD Zhang, DH Zhao, M Bai, Z Ji, YR Liu, FL Ma, J Su, JZ Tong, YS Wang, ZJ Zhao, C Feldman, P O'Brien, JP Osborne, R Willingale, V Burwitz, G Hartner, A Langmeier, T Mueller, S Rukdee, T Schmidt, E Kuulkers, W Yuan
As a novel X-ray focusing technology, lobster-eye micropore optics (MPO) feature both a wide observing field of view and true imaging capability, promising sky monitoring with significantly improved sensitivity and spatial resolution in soft X-rays. Since first proposed by Angel, the optics have been extensively studied, developed and trialed over the past decades. In this Letter, we report on the first-light results from a flight experiment of the Lobster Eye Imager for Astronomy, a pathfinder of the wide-field X-ray telescope of the Einstein Probe mission. The piggyback imager, launched in 2022 July, has a mostly unvignetted field of view of 18.°6 × 18.°6. Its spatial resolution is in the range of 4′-7′ in FWHM and the focal spot effective area is 2-3 cm2, both showing only mild fluctuations across the field of view. We present images of the Galactic center region, Sco X-1, and the diffuse Cygnus Loop nebular taken in snapshot observations over 0.5-4 keV. These are truly wide-field X-ray images of celestial bodies observed, for the first time, by a focusing imaging telescope. Initial analyses of the in-flight data show excellent agreement between the observed images and the on-ground calibration and simulations. The instrument and its characterization are briefly described, as well as the flight experiment. The results provide a solid basis for the development of the present and proposed wide-field X-ray missions using lobster-eye MPO.

History

Author affiliation

School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Leicester

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

The Astrophysical Journal Letters

Volume

941

Issue

1

Publisher

IOP Publishing Ltd

issn

2041-8205

eissn

2041-8213

Copyright date

2022

Available date

2024-01-23

Language

English

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