European WFXT site
The Wide Field X-Ray Telescope (WFXT) is a medium-class mission designed
to be 2-orders-of-magnitude more sensitive than any previous or planned
X-ray mission for large area surveys and to match in sensitivity the
next generation of wide-area optical, IR, and radio surveys. Using an
innovative wide-field X-ray optics design, WFXT provides a field of view
of 1 square degree (10x Chandra) with an
angular resolution of 5" (Half Energy Width, HEW) nearly constant over
the entire field, and a large collecting area (1 m2, >10x
Chandra) over the 0.1-7 keV band. WFXT's
low-Earth orbit also minimizes the particle background. In five years of
operation, WFXT will generate a legacy astrophysical
data set of more than 5×105 clusters of galaxies to z∼2,
107 AGN to z > 6, and ∼105 normal and starburst
galaxies at z~1.
WFXT will carry out three extragalactic surveys, providing
calibrated data products released with no proprietary period.
a WIDE survey will cover most of the
extragalactic sky (~20,000 deg2) at ~500 times the
sensitivity, and twenty times better angular resolution of the
ROSAT All Sky Survey;
a MEDIUM survey will map ~3000
deg2 to deep Chandra or
XMM - COSMOS sensitivity;
a DEEP survey will probe ~100
deg2, or ~1000 times the area of the Chandra Deep
Fields, to the deepest Chandra
Comparison of WFXT to other missions
The discovery space (grasp = sensitivity X area) of WFXT far exceeds
any current or planned mission.
WFXT Survey Details
WFXT will detect millions of AGN and hundreds of thousands of clusters.
The WFXT mission is scientifically broad, as the survey data will
provide a description of the cosmic evolution and cycle of baryons
map the large scale structure of the Universe
constrain and test cosmological models and fundamental physics (e.g.,
the nature of Dark Matter, Dark Energy and gravity)
determine the black hole accretion history to early epochs and its
intimate link with galaxy formation
provide an unprecedented view of nearby galaxies including our own.
WFXT is not only a path finder for other missions, its large collecting
area allows direct physical characterization of a large fraction of
sources (AGN and Clusters) via X-ray spectroscopy with no need of
follow-up observations. Synergy with other missions further enhances its
scientific potential and breadth.
Like the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, all WFXT data will become public
through a series of annual data releases that will constitute a vast
scientific legacy for decades.
WFXT has received support from Johns Hopkins University Applies Physics
Laboratory to develop the conceptual study, as well additional funding
from NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and Agenzia Spaziale Italiana
(Italian Space Agency) to develop the mirror design. The total cost of
the mission, from conceptual study through post-launch support
(including Education and Public Outreach) is ~$640-690 M (US). Following
two requests for information, the WFXT team is currently awaiting the
results from the US National Academy of Sciences 2010 Astronomy and
Astrophysics Decadal Survey and is poised to take advantage of new
mission opportunities from NASA.