Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The Polar Ionospheric X-ray Imaging Experiment (PIXIE) is an X-ray multiple-pinhole camera designed to image simultaneously an entire auroral region from high altitudes. It will be mounted on the despun platform of the POLAR spacecraft and will measure the spatial distribution and temporal variation of auroral X-ray emissions in the 2 to 60 keV energy range on the day side of the Earth as well as the night. PIXIE consists of two pinhole cameras integrated into one assembly, each equipped with an adjustable aperture plate that allows an optimum number of nonoverlapping images to be formed in the detector plane at each phase of the satellite's eccentric orbit. The aperture plates also allow the pinhole size to be adjusted so that the experimenter can trade off spatial resolution against instrument sensitivity. In the principal mode of operation, one aperture plate will be positioned for high spatial resolution and the other for high sensitivity. The detectors consist of four stacked multiwire position-sensitive proportional counters, two in each of two separate gas chambers. The front chamber operates in the 2–12 keV energy range and the rear chamber in the 10–60 keV range. All of the energy and position information for each telemetered X-ray event is available on the ground. This enables the experimenter to adjust the exposure timepostfacto so that energy spectra of each X-ray emitting region can be independently accumulated. From these data PIXIE will provide, for the first time, global images of precipitated energetic electron spectra, energy inputs, ionospheric electron densities, and upper atmospheric conductivities.
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