The X-IFU Gazette #9

EDITORIAL September was a rather busy month for X-IFU. Following the X-IFU Consortium meeting #8 held in Geneva on the second week, the Athena bi-annual conference took place in Palermo on the fourth week. It was the opportunity to present the X-IFU progresses to the community and see in return how the community gets prepared to do science with X-IFU. Several talks highlighted the revolutionary potential of the X-IFU in many science corners of high-energy astrophysics. In the same month, we had to prepare the Instrument Consortia Consolidation (ICC) data pack, to be delivered to ESA on October 1st. The ICC is a rather light process led by ESA by which we expect the two instrument consortia to be formally recognized and appointed. This is an exercise focused mostly on programmatic issues, to ensure that the Athena Lead Funding Agencies (LFAs) are ready to support the overall Athena study phase and related activities (e.g. technology demonstration) until mission adoption. Following the data pack delivery, on October 5th, the ESA executives discussed the content of the ICC data pack with the Athena LFAs. As a very positive outcome, all X-IFU LFAs confirmed to ESA that they are ready to sign letter of endorsement for their proposed contribution. The whole process should be concluded by the next November ESA Science Program Committee. In parallel to the above activities, the CNES project team is consolidating the new Dewar baseline configuration to be submitted to the Instrument Preliminary Requirement Review (I-PRR) (see Alice contribution). On the programmatic front, ESA, JAXA, CNES and IRAP decided jointly to baseline JAXA as the provider of the 2K Joule-Thomson coolers. Finally the whole consortium is now focusing on writing documentation for the IPRR, which is expected to kick-off early February (see Thien contribution). Didier Barret X-IFU Principal Investigator...

Athena X-IFU synthetic observations of galaxy clusters to probe the chemical enrichment of the Universe.

What are we made of? Most of the atoms and elements we know of are formed within stars, either during their life (winds) or during powerful end-of-life phenomena called supernovae. In fact, different mechanisms of metal creation exist in the Universe and elements were not formed evenly during its history. To investigate this chemical enrichment, one must look in the X-rays at the hot gas within clusters of galaxies – the intra cluster medium (ICM) – which is continuously enriched through time by the billions of stars contained in its galaxies. However, to perform meaningful studies of the enrichment through cosmic time, a combination of a high-resolution spatially-resolved spectroscopy and a large telescope collective area is required. For this reason, the Athena/X-IFU will be the breakthrough instrument to investigate metal formation and circulation in the Universe. In this paper, we tested the power of the X-IFU to fulfill this specific science objective. Using a set of simulated clusters derived from hydrodynamical simulations, we performed synthetic observations of this sample of objects through time, up to a redshift z=2 (10.4 billion years ago) with a completely realistic set-up (including e.g., background, instrumental effects). We demonstrated that with routine 100 ks observations, the X-IFU will be able to study the enrichment with unprecedented accuracy out to the outskirts of the clusters and provide solid answers to the origin of their metal content. This work is paramount in the Athena context, as it shows the power of the mission in answering some of the key astrophysical questions of our time. It also serves as a feasibility study of the X-IFU, consolidating the current design and the need for spatially-resolved high-resolution spectroscopy. Cucchetti et al. – Athena X-IFU synthetic observations of galaxy clusters to probe the chemical enrichment of the Universe. Date: 26/09/2018 Astronomy...

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