STROBE-X: X-ray Timing and Spectroscopy on Dynamical Timescales from Microseconds to Years


Ray PS, Arzoumanian Z, Ballantyne D, Bozzo E, Brandt S, Brenneman L, Chakrabarty D, Christophersen M, DeRosa A, Feroci M, et al. STROBE-X: X-ray Timing and Spectroscopy on Dynamical Timescales from Microseconds to Years. [Internet]. 2019:arXiv:1903.03035.


We present the Spectroscopic Time-Resolving Observatory for Broadband Energy X-rays (STROBE-X), a probe-class mission concept selected for study by NASA. It combines huge collecting area, high throughput, broad energy coverage, and excellent spectral and temporal resolution in a single facility. STROBE-X offers an enormous increase in sensitivity for X-ray spectral timing, extending these techniques to extragalactic targets for the first time. It is also an agile mission capable of rapid response to transient events, making it an essential X-ray partner facility in the era of time-domain, multi-wavelength, and multi-messenger astronomy. Optimized for study of the most extreme conditions found in the Universe, its key science objectives include: (1) Robustly measuring mass and spin and mapping inner accretion flows across the black hole mass spectrum, from compact stars to intermediate-mass objects to active galactic nuclei. (2) Mapping out the full mass-radius relation of neutron stars using an ensemble of nearly two dozen rotation-powered pulsars and accreting neutron stars, and hence measuring the equation of state for ultradense matter over a much wider range of densities than explored by NICER. (3) Identifying and studying X-ray counterparts (in the post-Swift era) for multiwavelength and multi-messenger transients in the dynamic sky through cross-correlation with gravitational wave interferometers, neutrino observatories, and high-cadence time-domain surveys in other electromagnetic bands. (4) Continuously surveying the dynamic X-ray sky with a large duty cycle and high time resolution to characterize the behavior of X-ray sources over an unprecedentedly vast range of time scales. STROBE-X's formidable capabilities will also enable a broad portfolio of additional science.