SVOM: a new mission for Gamma-Ray Burst Studies

06/2009; DOI: 10.1063/1.3155898
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT We present the SVOM (Space-based multi-band astronomical Variable Object Monitor) mission, that is being developed in cooperation between the Chinese National Space Agency (CNSA), the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) and the French Space Agency (CNES). Its scientific objectives include the study of the GRB phenomenon, GRB physics and progenitors, cosmology, and fundamental physics. SVOM is designed to detect all known types of Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs), to provide fast and reliable GRB positions, to measure the broadband spectral characteristics and temporal properties of the GRB prompt emission. This will be obtained in first place thanks to a set of four space flown instruments. A wide field (~2 sr) coded mask telescope (ECLAIRs), operating in the 4-250 keV energy range, will provide the triggers and localizations, while a gamma-ray non-imaging spectrometer (GRM), sensitive in the 50 keV-5 MeV domain, will extend the prompt emission energy coverage. After a satellite slew, in order to place the GRB direction within field of view of the two narrow field instruments - a soft X-ray (XIAO), and a visible telescope (VT) - the GRB position will be refined and the study of the early phases of the GRB afterglow will be possible. A set of three ground based dedicated instruments, two robotic telescopes (GFTs) and a wide angle optical monitor (GWAC), will complement the space borne instruments. Thanks to the low energy trigger threshold (~4 keV) of the ECLAIRs, SVOM is ideally suited for the detection of soft, hence potentially most distant, GRBs. Its observing strategy is optimized to facilitate follow-up observations from the largest ground based facilities. Comment: Proceedings of the 6th Huntsville Symposium on Gamma-Ray Bursts (October 20-23 2008). Figures in colour with respect to the published version

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