Steward Observatory/NSF’s OIR Lab Joint Colloquium Series- High-resolution X-ray Spectroscopy: Science with XRISM

Dr. Brian Williams, NASA GSFC

Abstract: The X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM), an international JAXA/NASA collaboration including participation from ESA, will be an advanced X-ray observatory capable of carrying out a science program that will address some of the most important questions in astrophysics in the 2020s. Scheduled to launch in the fall of 2022, XRISM is essentially a rebuild of the Hitomi (Astro-H) spacecraft that was lost due to an operational mishap early in the mission in 2016. Resolve, the primary instrument on XRISM, is a high-resolution, non-dispersive X-ray spectrometer operating between 0.3-12 keV, providing high-resolution (~5 eV) spectroscopic capabilities in this critical energy band with a response peaking around the ubiquitous 6.4 keV Fe K-alpha line. A wide-field imager, Xtend, will offer simultaneous coverage over nearly a 40’ square field of view, with ~1’ spatial resolution. XRISM will study all manner of astrophysical objects, including galaxies and clusters, AGN, X-ray binaries, supernova remnants, transient phenomena, stars, and the interstellar medium. In this talk, I will highlight some of the scientific topics that XRISM will address, in addition to providing a general status update on the mission. I will discuss the synergies between high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy and observations at other wavelengths, including optical, radio, and IR. Following an approximately three-month checkout and calibration phase and a six-month performance verification phase, XRISM will enter the General Observer (GO) phase, in which it will remain for the duration of the mission. Funding will be available from NASA through the GO phase to US-based PIs, and the first announcement of opportunity is anticipated to be due approximately 5 months after launch. I will also discuss the XRISM Guest Scientist program, under which scientists who are not members of the XRISM Science Team will be eligible to apply to join specific performance verification phase target teams, receiving early access to the data and associated funding support. 

Zoom:, or 


3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 17, 2020


Via Zoom