The Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer


artist concept of RXTE
The Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, RXTE, was launched on December 30, 1995. RXTE was designed to facilitate the study of time variability in the emission of X-ray sources with moderate spectral resolution. Time scales from microseconds to months are covered in a broad spectral range from 2 to 250 keV. It was designed for a required lifetime of two years, but operated for more than 16 years.

Mission Characteristics

* Lifetime : 30 December 1995 to 05 January 2012
* Energy Range : 2 - 250 keV
* Special Features : Very large collecting area and all-sky monitoring of bright sources
* Payload :
  • Proportional Counter Array (PCA)
    2-60 keV energy range, 6500 sq cm, time resolution 1 microsec
  • High Energy X-ray Timing Experiment (HEXTE)
    15-250 keV energy range, 2 X 800 sq cm
  • All-Sky Monitor (ASM)
    2-10 keV energy range, 30 mCrab sensitivity
* Science Highlight:
  • Discovery of kilohertz QPO's
  • Discovery of spin periods in LMXRB
  • Detection of X-ray afterglows from Gamma Ray Bursts
  • Extensive observations of the soft state transition of Cyg X-1
  • Observations of the Bursting Pulsar over a broad range of luminosities, providing stringent test of accretion theories.

* Archive : Catalogs, Spectra, Lightcurves, and Raw data


For Further Information .....
RXTE Guest Observer Facility [Researchers]
RXTE Learning Center [Public Interest/Education]



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This page is maintained by the RXTE GOF and was last modified on Wednesday, 04-Apr-2012 11:11:28 EDT.