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The ECLAIRs micro-satellite for multi-wavelength studies of gamma-ray burst prompt emission

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18 Author(s)

The cosmological revolution of 1997 has established that (at least long duration) gamma-ray bursts (GRB) are among the most energetic events in the Universe and occur at cosmological distances. The ECLAIRs micro-satellite, to be launched in 2009, will provide multi-wavelength observations for astrophysical studies of GRB and for their possible use as cosmological probes. It is expected to be the only space borne GRB trigger available for ground based robotic telescopes operational at that time. This paper presents the ECLAIRs project and its status. An X/gamma-ray camera onboard ECLAIRs with a wide field of view of ~2 sr, will detect ~100 GRB/yr in the 4-50 keV energy range, localize the GRB with a precision of ~10 arcmin on the sky, and transmit this information to the ground in near real-time, as a GRB trigger for ground based optical telescopes. Inspired by the INTEGRAL imager IBIS, it is based on a CdTe detection plane of ~1000 cm2, placed 35 cm below a coded mask. An optical camera, sensitive to magnitude-15 stars, covering up to 1/4th of the X/gamma-ray camera's field of view, will observe the prompt emission and a possible precursor of ~10 GRB/yr in the visible-band. It will continuously acquire images at a rate of ~5 per second, dumped into an on-board memory. A GRB event, detected by the X/gamma-ray camera, triggers a seek-back in memory for the GRB optical precursor. The full X/gamma-ray and visible-band data of a GRB are sent to ground when a high data-rate telemetry ground receiver is reachable

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Nuclear Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:52 ,  Issue: 6 )