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Q&A: X-ray Astronomy

Q:
How does Chandra and Rossi compare or differ from one another?

A:
The Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), as the name suggests, is designed to study the time variations of cosmic X-ray sources on time scales ranging from microseconds to months. Its instruments cover an energy range from 2 to 250 kilovolts, compared to the 0.2 to 10 kilovolt range of Chandra. A major difference is that RXTE has no focusing X-ray mirrors, so it cannot make X-ray images. It is best used to study the time variations in bright X-ray sources in binary stars systems containing black holes and neutrons stars, for which it has provided a wealth of valuable information. In addition, RXTE carries an All-Sky Monitor that scans about 80% of the sky every orbit, allowing monitoring at time scales of 90 minutes or longer.

bulletFor more information see:
http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/XTE.html.
http://chandra.harvard.edu/xray_astro/history3.html

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