Accretion physics at high X-ray spectral resolution: New frontiers and game-changing science

P. Gandhi, T. Kawamuro, M. Díaz Trigo, J. A. Paice, P. G. Boorman, M. Cappi, C. Done, A. C. Fabian, K. Fukumura, J. A. Garcia, C. L. Greenwell, M. Guainazzi, K. Makishima, M. S. Tashiro, R. Tomaru, F. Tombesi, Y. Ueda

Submitted on 21 September 2022


Microcalorimeters have demonstrated success in delivering high spectral resolution, and have paved the path to revolutionary new science possibilities in the coming decade of X-ray astronomy. There are several research areas in compact object science that can only be addressed with energy resolution Delta(E)<~5 eV at photon energies of a few keV, corresponding to velocity resolution of <~a few hundred km/s, to be ushered in by microcalorimeters. Here, we review some of these outstanding questions, focusing on how the research landscape is set to be transformed (i) at the interface between accreting supermassive black holes and their host galaxies, (ii) in unravelling the structures of accretion environments, (iii) in resolving long-standing issues on the origins of energy and matter feedback, and (iv) to test mass-scaled unification of accretion and feedback. The need to learn lessons from Hitomi and to make improvements in laboratory atomic data precision as well as plasma modeling are highlighted.


Comment: To appear in Nature Astronomy as a review. Author version, before final editorial and style revisions

Subjects: Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena; Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics