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All-sky soft X-ray map with microcalorimeter resolution: prospects of the Line Emission Mapper probe mission

Presentation #110.22 in the session LEM.

Published onJul 01, 2023
All-sky soft X-ray map with microcalorimeter resolution: prospects of the Line Emission Mapper probe mission

The Line Emission Mapper (LEM) is a proposed NASA probe class mission which will combine ~ 1600 cm2 effective area at 0.5 keV (2600 cm2 at 1 keV) with microcalorimeter 2 eV spectral resolution and 15” spatial resolution over 30’ by 30’ field of view in the soft X-ray band (0.2-2 keV). Unprecedented grasp for a spectroscopic mission makes it possible to build sensitive maps for very large sky areas over short periods of time, opening a possibility of constructing a full-sky soft X-ray map of high sharpness and exquisite spectral detail.

Such a map would allow us to probe physical conditions in the hot phase of the Milky Way’s interstellar and circumgalactic medium, including such outstanding features as the North Polar Spur and Fermi/eROSITA bubbles, measure velocities of the gas motions in the inner part of the Galaxy, extract emissivity of the Local Hot Bubble and explore emission due to Solar Wind Charge exchange. Birth and death of the stars can be traced by tomography of bright and extended supernova remnants and star formation regions in our own and nearby galaxies, including Magellanic Clouds and M31. For a multitude of distant extra-galactic sources, mostly active galactic nuclei and galaxy clusters and groups, high resolution X-ray spectra will be obtained for the first time, as well as stacked spectra for their populations and intergalactic environments. A substantial number of transient sources, either Galactic (e.g. X-ray binaries), extragalactic (e.g. tidal disruption events) or Solar System (e.g. comets), might be discovered and studied in great detail. Finally, akin to the data of the ROSAT all-sky survey, the all-sky map by LEM will provide a high resolution X-ray background estimation for any position of the sky, so valuable for the in-depth analysis of extremely faint individual objects, as filaments of the warm-hot intergalactic medium or distant outskirts of massive galaxies, groups and clusters. We will present an outline of the survey parameters and design and highlight some scientific cases within the grasp of this mission.

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