EXTraS - Exploring the X-ray Transient and variable Sky
Group members: Andrea De Luca, Ruben Salvaterra, Andrea Belfiore, Martino Marelli, Daniele Pizzocaro, David Salvetti, Patrizia Caraveo, Paolo Esposito, Sandro Mereghetti, Ada Paizis, Lara Sidoli, Chiara Zazzetta
EXTraS in a nutshell
Variability pervades the cosmos. Almost all astrophysical objects, from nearby stars to supermassive black holes in the cores of very distant galaxies, display distinctive variability on a range of time-scales, which yields crucial clues to understand their physics.
This is especially true in the high energy range of the electromagnetic spectrum (X- and gamma-rays), where every day, high energy telescopes collect huge amounts of valuable information, which remains mostly unused, stored in data archives.
EXTraS will systematically explore and characterise the temporal content in the entire database collected by the EPIC cameras onboard the XMM-Newton mission. These observations, made with the most powerful instrument currently studying the X-ray sky, already span 13 years. We will search for objects only fleetingly detected for a short time (transient objects), often the signature of the most energetic events in the cosmos. More generally, we will search for and characterize variability, both periodic and aperiodic, in hundreds of thousands of objects on a broad range of time scales. The X-ray results will be complemented by multiwavelength characterization of new discoveries. Phenomenological classification of variable objects will also be performed. All our results will be made publicly available, together with new analysis tools.
EXTraS will undoubtedly unveil new and unexpected classes of objects. Our results will become a reference dataset for the forthcoming era of large surveys. By providing the most sensitive search for variability ever performed, EXTraS is expected to raise new questions in high-energy astrophysics and serve as a pathfinder for future missions.
EXTraS has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement n. 607452. The Project coordinator is Andrea De Luca (IASF Milano). The project started on 2014, January 1st and will have a duration of 36 months.
The EXTraS collaboration includes 6 institutions:
Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF), Italy
Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori di Pavia (IUSS), Italy
Istituto di Matematica Applicata e Tecnologie Informatiche (CNR-IMATI), Italy
University of Leicester, United Kingdom
Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial physics (MPE), Germany
Erlangen Centre for Astroparticle Physics (ECAP), Germany
For further details, please visit the EXTraS web site.