Einstein Probe - A small mission to monitor and explore the dynamic X-ray Universe
conference contributionposted on 27.06.2017, 12:58 by W. Yuan, C. Zhang, H. Feng, S. N. Zhang, Z. X. Ling, D. Zhao, J. Deng, Y. Qiu, Julian P. Osborne, P. O'Brien, R. Willingale, J. Lapington, G. W. Fraser
Einstein Probe is a small mission dedicated to time-domain high-energy astrophysics. Its primary goals are to discover high-energy transients and to monitor variable objects in the 0.5-4 keV Xrays, at higher sensitivity by one order of magnitude than those of the ones currently in orbit. Its wide-field imaging capability, featuring a large instantaneous field-of-view (60°× 60°, ∼ 1:1 sr), is achieved by using established technology of micro-pore (MPO) lobster-eye optics, thereby offering unprecedentedly high sensitivity and large Grasp (effective area times field-of-view). To complement this powerful monitoring ability, it also carries a narrow-field, sensitive followup X-ray telescope based on the same MPO technology to perform follow-up observations of newly-discovered transients. Public transient alerts will be downlinked rapidly, so as to trigger multi-wavelength follow-up observations from the world-wide community. Over three of its 97- minute orbits almost the entire night sky will be sampled, with cadences ranging from 5 to 25 times per day. The scientific objectives of the mission are: to discover otherwise quiescent black holes over all astrophysical mass scales by detecting their rare X-ray transient flares, particularly tidal disruption of stars by massive black holes at galactic centers; to detect and precisely locate the electromagnetic sources of gravitational-wave transients; to carry out systematic surveys of Xray transients and characterise the variability of X-ray sources, such as high-redshift gamma-ray bursts, supernova shock breakouts, X-ray binaries of compact objects, gamma-ray bursts, active galactic nuclei and stellar coronal flares, etc. Einstein Probe has been selected as a candidate mission of priority (no further selection needed) in the Space Science Programme of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, aiming for launch around 2020.