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Suzaku Guest Observer Facility

Suzaku Mission Overview

Suzaku is Japan's fifth X-ray astronomy satellite and the third for which the US has provided a significant part of the scientifc payload. Its three types instruments will achieve:

  • High X-ray spectral resolution throughout the 0.2-10 keV energy band where the bulk of K-shell lines of astrophysically abundant elements (O-Ni) exist.
  • Imaging spectroscopy of extended sources using non-dispersive spectrometers.
  • Large collecting area for high sensitivity.
  • Very large simultaneous bandwidth to enable disentangling complex, multi-component spectra.

Thus Suzaku is complementary to Chandra and XMM-Newton observatories.

Suzaku has three major instruments. These are:

  • The X-Ray Spectrometer (XRS), which is the acknowledged "primary" instrument. This is the same instrument that was to have been part of AXAF. It is a non-dispersive (thus, high-efficiency) imaging (30-element) spectrometer (about 6.5 eV FWHM). It is cryogenically cooled by an adiabatic diamagnetic refrigerator within a helium dewar, which, as well as the XRS sensor, is provided by GSFC. The helium dewar is located within a Japanese-provided solid neon dewar, which in turn is cooled by a mechanical cooler. The current estimate of the cryo lifetime is about 2.5 years, but it is hoped to get to three. The life time depends upon design requirements associated with considerations such as launch loads. The detector array sits behind a conical foil mirror (X-ray Telescope, or XRT) assembly provided by the GSFC, with spatial resolution of about 1.8' half power diameter (HPD). The effective area of this system at 6 keV is about 150 cm2.

  • There are 4 units of X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (XIS). Each XIS, an X-ray CCD camera, is at the focus of an XRT. All 4 XIS units are co-aligned, with the XRS field-of-view at its center. The telescopes are provided by GSFC, while the CCD chips are the responsibility of MIT, and the digital electronics are supplied by a consortium of Japanese institutions.

  • The Hard X-ray Detector (HXD) is a non-imaging instrument provided by a Japanese consortium led by the University of Tokyo and ISAS/JAXA. It is a hard X-ray (of order 10-600 keV) collimated system of "well" detectors. The HXD is characterized by the low background of ~10-5 cts/s/cm2/keV; its sensitivity is higher than any past missions in the energy range from a few tens keV to several hundreds keV. The anti-counters, whose main purpose is to reject particle background, are also expected to detect transient high energy phenomena such as the gamma-ray bursts.

Important mission and instrument parameters are summarized in the tables below. See also a brief summary of the Suzaku spacecraft.




550 km


31 deg

Pointing Constraint

Within 25 degrees of perpendicular to the Sun (all the instruments)

All Sky Monitor?

HXD is sensitive to ~4 PI solid angle,

and may be used as ASM and gamma-ray burst monitor




Energy Range

0.3-12 keV

0.2-12 keV

10 - 600 keV

Number of Sensors


4 (one CCD chip/sensor)

1 (16 identical units)

Number of Pixels

30 pixels (6x6 geometry)

1024 x 1024 for each CCD


Pixel Size

625 micron x 625 micron

24 micron x 24 micron


Effective area per sensor

100 cm2 @1 keV

150 cm2 @6 keV

400 cm2 @1.5 keV

250 cm2 @6 keV

160 cm2 @15 keV

300 cm2 @120 keV

Energy Resolution (FWHM)

6.5 eV

120 eV @6keV

50 eV @1 keV

3 keV (10-30 keV)

9% (at 662 keV)

Field of View



0.56 deg x 0.56 deg (E<100 keV)

4.6 det x 4.6 deg (E>200 keV)

Imaging Capability

Limited by the pixel size


None (collimated)

Spatial Resolution

~1.8' (HPD of XRT PSF)



~2.5 yr lifetime


also observe gamma-ray bursts

If you have any questions concerning Suzaku, visit the Feedback form.

This file was last modified on Monday, 14-Aug-2006 13:41:37 EDT

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