ATHENA: The Advanced Telescope for High Energy Astrophysics

Athena (Advanced Telescope for High Energy Astrophysics) is an X-ray mission accepted by the ESA to address the Hot and Energetic Universe science theme. The mission will be launched in 2030 and placed at the second Sun-Earth Lagrangian point (L2). The planned mission lifetime is five years, but the mission is expected to last longer. ATHENA will be equipped with two scientific instruments: the X-ray Integral Field Unit and the Wide Field Imager.

The X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU) will provide spatially resolved high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy from 0.2 to 12 keV, with energy resolution of 2.5 eV for the energies lower than 7 keV (for higher energies E/dE=2800).

The WFI has a large  field of view 40'x40', and very high angular resolution, 5''. It will observe in the energy range 0.2 -- 15 keV with resolution 170 eV at 7 keV. The planned time resolution for this instrument is 80 µsec. It's scientific goals are related to high energy phenomena, and include studying hot baryons in groups and clusters of galaxies, accretion processes onto compact objects, and GRBs and other transient objects.

Credits: X-IFU Consortium. Copyrights: DB/X-IFU