Athena (Advanced Telescope for High ENergy Astrophysics) is the X-ray observatory mission selected by ESA, within its Cosmic Vision programme, to address the Hot and Energetic Universe scientific theme. It is the second L(large)-class mission within that programme and is due for launch in early 2030s.
Our major involvement in ATHENA is in the prediction and evaluation of the background. This is achieved by participating in:
1) Wide Field Imager (WFI) and X-ray Integral Field Unit (XIFU) Consortia Background Working Group (BWG) activities;
2) Athena Science Study Team (ASST) activities;
3) ESA financed activities.
WFI BWG Activities. Silvano Molendi is Scientific Coordinator for the WFI BWG, Fabio Gastaldello is a member of the WFI BWG. We contribute to several aspects, including the study of Self Anti Coincidence and Background monitoring strategies.
ASST Activities. Silvano Molendi is one of the major contirbutors to the definition of background requirements. Silvano Molendi and Fabio Gastaldello have proposed the Athena High Energy Particle Monitor (AHEPAM). Study of AHEPAM has been endorsed by ASST and is currently under way.
ESA financed activity: ATHENA Radiation Environment Models and X-Ray Background Effects Simulators (AREMBES). The Milano-IASF ATHENA Background Working Group (MIABWG) has contributed a Report on “Radiation Background Data Analysis & Lessons Learned from Previous X-ray Missions”
ESA financed activity: Experimental evaluation of ATHENA Charged particle background from secondary RADiation and scattering in optics (EXACRAD). Silvano Molendi and Fabio Gastaldello are respectivelly Program Manager and Deputy Project Scientist of EXACRAD
The Milano-IASF ATHENA Background Working Group (MIABWG) currently features: Silvano Molendi, Fabio Gastaldello, Martino Marelli, Andrea Tiengo, Andrea De Luca, Simona Ghizzardi, Mariachiara Rossetti and Paolo Esposito.