HEAD High Energy Astrophysics Division

HEADNEWS: THE ELECTRONIC NEWSLETTER OF THE HIGH ENERGY ASTROPHYSICS DIVISION OF THE AAS

Newsletter No. 99, December 2011



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8. GEMS
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Jean Swank, Tim Kallman & Keith Jahoda (GSFC)

The Gravity and Extreme Magnetism Small Explorer (GEMS), to carry out a sensitive survey of polarization of the 2-10 keV X-ray band in observations of stellar and supermassive black holes, neutron stars and supernova remnants, has continued to work towards its Mission Preliminary Design Review. The Orbital spacecraft Preliminary Design Review is complete. Engineering Peer Reviews for subsystems of the instrument are in progress. Two engineering test units for the polarimeter passed perfomance, vibration, and thermal tests validating the design and the robustness necessary for a flight instrument and the polarimeter completed its peer review. The telescope optical boom completed its PDR and its engineering unit has successfully deployed before and after vibration. The project is now working towards instrument and mission preliminary design reviews at the end of February and a launch in November 2014.

A GEMS science team meeting was held in October at the HEAD meeting, where a session on X-Ray Polarimetry as a Probe of Extreme Physics was organized. It explored the information X-ray polarimetry could provide on magnetars, rotation-powered pulsars, supernova remnants, blazar jets and black holes.

More information about GEMS can be found at http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/gems/

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