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A mission overview

XIPE is a new mission concept selected by ESA in June 2015 to undergo a 2 years-long assessment phase in the context of the Cosmic Vision M4 competition. The mission is devoted to the observation of celestial sources in X-rays:

  • X-ray polarimetry is photon hungry, but scientifically needed
  • A dedicated mission is required

XIPE uniqueness:

  • Time-, spectrally-, spatially-resolved X-ray polarimetry as a breakthrough in high energy astrophysics and fundamental physics
  • It will explore this observational window after 40 years from the last positive measurement, with a dramatic improvement in sensitivity: from one to hundred sources

In the violent X-ray sky, polarimetry is expected to have a much greater impact than in most other wavelengths. A large number of scientific topics and observable sources will thus be accessible to XIPE:

XIPE - artist's impression
(credits INAF-IAPS)
  • Astrophysics
    • Acceleration phenomena
      • Pulsar wind nebulae
      • SNRs
      • Jets
    • Emission in strong magnetic fields
      • Magnetic cataclysmic variables
      • Accreting millisecond pulsars
      • Accreting X-ray pulsars
      • Magnetar
    • Scattering in aspherical situations
      • X-ray binaries
      • Radio-quiet AGN
      • X-ray reflection nebulae
  • Fundamental Physics
    • Matter in Extreme Magnetic Fields: QED effects
    • Matter in Extreme Gravitational Fields: GR effects
      • Galactic black hole system & AGNs
    • Quantum Gravity
    • Search for axion-like particles