Experimental Astronomy

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 101–125 | Cite as

Imaging X-ray Polarimeter for Solar Flares (IXPS)

  • Michael Hosack
  • J. Kevin Black
  • Philip Deines-Jones
  • Brian R. Dennis
  • Joanne E. Hill
  • Keith Jahoda
  • Albert Y. Shih
  • Christian E. Urba
  • A. Gordon Emslie
Original Article


We describe the design of a balloon-borne Imaging X-ray Polarimeter for Solar flares (IXPS). This novel instrument, a Time Projection Chamber (TPC) for photoelectric polarimetry, will be capable of measuring polarization at the few percent level in the 20–50 keV energy range during an M- or X-class flare, and will provide imaging information at the ∼10 arcsec level. The primary objective of such observations is to determine the directivity of nonthermal high-energy electrons producing solar hard X-rays, and hence to learn about the particle acceleration and energy release processes in solar flares. Secondary objectives include the separation of the thermal and nonthermal components of the flare X-ray emissions and the separation of photospheric albedo fluxes from direct emissions.


Solar flare X-ray polarimetry Particle tracking GEM TPC 



This work was supported by NASA through the Heliophysics Low Cost Access to Space program of the Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES). Several individuals have provided technical assistance or advice for this project. We thank Bob Baker and Ken Simms for custom electronics. Michael Dion assisted especially with the cleaning and stretching of GEMs. Jeff Martoff provided useful advice and ideas particularly concerning detector gas. Zach Prieskorn’s work with a similar detector provided a useful baseline for testing and troubleshooting various problems. Phil Kaaret suggested polarization through Compton scattering and provided references. We thank Toru Tamagawa for help communicating with Japanese suppliers. Finally, we thank Zhong Zhong for assistance concerning the use of synchrotron radiation for 20–50 keV polarized X-rays.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Hosack
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. Kevin Black
    • 3
  • Philip Deines-Jones
    • 4
  • Brian R. Dennis
    • 1
  • Joanne E. Hill
    • 4
    • 5
  • Keith Jahoda
    • 4
  • Albert Y. Shih
    • 1
  • Christian E. Urba
    • 5
  • A. Gordon Emslie
    • 6
  1. 1.Code 671NASA’s Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltUSA
  2. 2.ADNET Systems, Inc.RockvilleUSA
  3. 3.Rock Creek ScientificSilver SpringUSA
  4. 4.Code 662NASA’s Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltUSA
  5. 5.CRESST/Universities Space Research AssociationColumbiaUSA
  6. 6.Department of Physics & AstronomyWestern Kentucky UniversityBowling GreenUSA

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