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The Swift X-Ray Telescope: Status and Performance

  • Burrows, David N.
  • Kennea, J. A.
  • Abbey, A. F.
  • Beardmore, A.
  • Campana, S.
  • Capalbi, M.
  • Chincarini, G.
  • Cusumano, G.
  • Evans, P. A.
  • Hill, J. E.
  • Giommi, P.
  • Goad, M.
  • Godet, O.
  • Moretti, A.
  • Morris, D. C.
  • Osborne, J. P.
  • Pagani, C.
  • Page, K. L.
  • Perri, M.
  • Racusin, J.
  • And 6 more
Published Article
Publication Date
Mar 12, 2008
Submission Date
Mar 12, 2008
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We present science highlights and performance from the Swift X-ray Telescope (XRT), which was launched on November 20, 2004. The XRT covers the 0.2-10 keV band, and spends most of its time observing gamma-ray burst (GRB)afterglows, though it has also performed observations of many other objects. By mid-August 2007, the XRT had observed over 220 GRB afterglows, detecting about 96% of them. The XRT positions enable followup ground-based optical observations, with roughly 60% of the afterglows detected at optical or near IR wavelengths. Redshifts are measured for 33% of X-ray afterglows. Science highlights include the discovery of flaring behavior at quite late times, with implications for GRB central engines; localization of short GRBs, leading to observational support for compact merger progenitors for this class of bursts; a mysterious plateau phase to GRB afterglows; as well as many other interesting observations such as X-ray emission from comets, novae, galactic transients, and other objects.

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