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The Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer

artist concept of RXTE
Credit: NASA

The Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, RXTE, was launched on December 30, 1995. RXTE is designed to facilitate the study of time variability in the emission of X-ray sources with moderate spectral resolution. Time scales from microseconds to months are covered in a broad spectral range from 2 to 250 keV. It is designed for a required lifetime of two years, with a goal of five years.

Mission Characteristics

* Lifetime: 30 December 1995 to the present
* Energy Range: 2 - 250 keV
* Special Features: Very large collecting area and all-sky monitoring of bright sources
* Payload:
  • Proportional Counter Array (PCA)
    2-60 keV energy range, 6500 sq cm, time resolution 1 microsec
  • High Energy X-ray Timing Experiment (HEXTE)
    15-250 keV energy range, 2 X 800 sq cm
  • All-Sky Monitor (ASM)
    2-10 keV energy range, 30 mCrab sensitivity
* Science Highlight:
  • Discovery of kilohertz QPO's
  • Detection of X-ray afterglows from Gamma Ray Bursts
  • Extensive observations of the soft state transition of Cyg X-1
  • Observations of the Bursting Pulsar over a broad range of luminosities, providing stringent test of accretion theories.

* Archive: Catalogs, Spectra, Lightcurves, and Raw data

For Further Information .....
RXTE Guest Observer Facility ( [Researchers]
RXTE Learning Center ( [Public Interest/Education]

Imagine the Universe is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

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Acting Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2012.

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