ASCENT: a balloon-borne hard x-ray imaging spectroscopy telescope using transition edge sensor microcalorimeter detectors

Fabian Kislat, Daniel Becker, Douglas Bennett, Adrika Dasgupta, Joseph Fowler, Christopher L. Fryer, Jonathon Gard, Ephraim Gau, Danielle Gurgew, Keon Harmon, Takayuki Hayashi, Scott Heatwole, Md Arman Hossen, Henric Krawczynski, R. James Lanzi, Jason Legere, John A.B. Mates, Mark Mcconnell, Johanna Nagy, Takashi OkajimaToshiki Sato, Daniel Schmidt, Sean Spooner, Daniel Swetz, Keisuke Tamura, Joel Ullom, Joel Weber, Amanda Wester, Patrick Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Core collapse supernovae are thought to be one of the main sources in the galaxy of elements heavier than iron. Understanding the origin of the elements is thus tightly linked to our understanding of the explosion mechanism of supernovae and supernova nucleosynthesis. X-ray and gamma-ray observations of young supernova remnants, combined with improved theoretical modeling, have resulted in enormous improvements in our knowledge of these events. The isotope Ti44 is one of the most sensitive probes of the innermost regions of the core collapse engine, and its spatial and velocity distribution are key observables. Hard x-ray imaging spectroscopy with the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) has provided new insights into the structure of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A (Cas A), establishing the convective nature of the supernova engine. However, many questions about the details of this engine remain. We present here the concept for a balloon-borne follow-up mission called A SuperConducting ENergetic x-ray Telescope (ASCENT). ASCENT uses transition edge sensor gamma-ray microcalorimeter detectors with a demonstrated 55-eV full-width half maximum energy resolution at 97 keV. This 8- to 16-fold improvement in energy resolution over NuSTAR will allow for high-resolution imaging and spectroscopy of the Ti44 emission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14002
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • instrumentation
  • spectroscopy
  • supernova remnants
  • x-ray

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Instrumentation
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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