Supermassive black holes interact with ISM/IGM gas in a process termed "feedback" that is key to the formation and evolution of galaxies and clusters. Characterizing the origins and physical mechanisms governing this feedback requires tracing the propagation of outflowing mass, energy and momentum from the vicinity of the SMBH out to megaparsec scales. Our ability to understand the interplay between feedback and structure evolution across multiple scales, as well as a wide range of other important astrophysical phenomena, depends on diagnostics only available in soft X-ray spectra (0.1-2 keV).The Arcus mission will revolutionize our understanding of structure formation and evolution. Arcus directly addresses Astro2020's questions calling for X-ray grating spectroscopy, providing unprecedented capabilities in this decade and the next. Arcus will complement the ATHENA X-ray micro-calorimeter, providing ~10x ATHENA's spectral resolution <2 keV to enable science investigations not otherwise possible. By tracing diffuse hot gas, Arcus will complete the landscape of the next generation of powerful ground and space observatories (e.g., LSST, ALMA, JWST and Euclid), which will use gravitational lensing and galaxy surveys to trace dark matter distributions and cold gas in galaxies. Arcus combines high-resolution, efficient, lightweight X-ray gratings with silicon pore optics to provide 3-10x the efficiency, 3-10x the spectral resolution, and >10x the collecting area of the Chandra gratings. Flight-proven CCDs and instrument electronics are strong heritage components, while spacecraft and mission operations also reuse highly successful designs.
AAS/High Energy Astrophysics Division
- Pub Date:
- April 2022