The eXTP X-ray satellite (enhanced X-ray Timing and Polarimetry Mission) is a Sino-European scientific space mission proposal designed to study the state of matter in extreme conditions of density, gravity and magnetism. eXTP includes two European instruments, based on the LOFT (Large Observatory For X-ray Timing) mission, a proposal selected by ESA for feasibility study (phase A) in the M3 call; this study was completed in 2013 with an excellent evaluation, but LOFT was not selected for launch. The collaboration between Europe and China, the embryo of the current eXTP proposal, began then, and several European countries – Spain, Italy, Germany, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic,Switzerland – are actively participating in the development of eXTP. Phase B of eXTP has already started both in China and in Europe, after having successfully passed an ESA review. The expected launch date of eXTP is 2027.
eXTP has a unique and unprecedented set of cutting-edge scientific instruments, which will allow for the first time simultaneous studies of polarimetry and spectroscopy with enormous temporal precision, in the energy range 0.5-30 keV. The four instruments provided are:
– The “Spectroscopic Focusing Array” (SFA): set of 9 X-ray telescopes operating in the 0.5-10 keV energy band
– The “Large Area Detector” (LAD): set of silicon detectors and a collimator operating between 2 and 30 keV, with spectral resolution better than 250 eV.
– The “Polarimetry Focusing Array” (PFA): set of 4 X-ray telescopes with an energy range between 2 and 10 keV.
– The “Wide Field Monitor” (WFM): set of 3 pairs of coded mask cameras, equipped with silicon detectors similar to those of the LAD instrument, covering a FoV of 3.7 sr and operating in the energy range of 2 to 50 keV. Spain leads the WFM, with Margarita Hernanz, from the Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC) and IEEC, its PI.
These instruments will allow to carry out key studies for the determination of the equation of state of matter in conditions of supra-nuclear density, the measurement of the effects of QED on highly magnetized stars and the study of accretion in the strong field gravity regime, in addition to multiple additional topics possible since eXTP will be an X-ray observatory. eXTP is therefore of interest to a large community working on neutron stars, isolated and in binary systems, neutron stars with extreme magnetic fields (magnetars), pulsars, stellar-mass and supermassive black holes, and many other high-energy topics.
The large involvement of Spain in eXTP offers a unique opportunity to get the most out of this mission, thanks to the detailed knowledge of the instrumentation. For all this we organize this RIA meeting: publicize the science and possibilities that eXTP will offer to the Spanish astronomical community. eXTP brings together the communities involved in theESA proposals LOFT and XIPE.