European Space Research and Technology Centre, Noordwijk, The Netherlands

17 maggio 2017, ore 11:00 Aula IB09 Area Tor Vergata - IAPS
Via Fosso Del Cavaliere, 100

In this talk I will present the scientific objectives and design status of Athena - the Advanced Telescope for High-ENergy Astrophysics. Athena was selected in June 2014 as the second L-class mission in ESA's Cosmic Vision 2015-25 plan, with a launch foreseen in 2028. It is an X-ray observatory designed to address the two questions of Cosmic Vision science theme 'The Hot and Energetic Universe': a) How does ordinary matter assemble into the large-scale structures we see today? and; b) How do black holes grow and shape the Universe? It will achieve these goals by studying a wide range of astrophysical phenomena: the formation and evolution of groups and clusters of galaxies; the chemical evolution of hot baryons; feedback effects of active
galactic nuclei; missing baryons thought to populate the intergalactic medium; the formation and early growth of black holes; and the accretion by super-massive black holes through cosmic time, among others. These goals will be achieved through an unprecedented combination of an X-ray telescope with a focal length of 12 m and an effective area of ~2 square meters at 1 keV, and two instruments: an X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU) for spatially-resolved, high spectral resolution (~2.5 eV) imaging spectroscopy over a ~5'x5' field-of-view, and a Wide Field Imager (WFI) for high count rate, moderate resolution spectroscopy over a large field of view (~40'x40'). The mission is currently in the study phase ("Phase A") aiming at the scientifically optimal
design. Upon completion, Athena will be proposed for 'adoption' around 2019, thus leading to the start of the construction phase.