Transforming our understanding of the X-ray Universe: the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE)
Intervenant : Frédéric Marin
50 years after the pioneering experiments, X-ray spectroscopy and timing techniques can be considered as well established. Nonetheless, one prominent feature of X-ray light has not been explored as scrupulously as others : its polarization. Between 1980 and 2000, the instruments were not sensitive enough to go beyond the first X-ray polarimetric results acquired in the 70s but the development of new detection techniques in the early 2000s revived the field. The first X-ray spatial mission to fly a new generation polarimeter will be launched by NASA in 2021 and a couple of balloon-borne and rocket experiments are being considered. Following the increasing interest of the community to the unexplored phase space of X-ray polarization, I will present the discoveries X-ray polarimetry is about to make by focusing on the forthcoming NASA Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE). This mission will exploit the polarization state of light from astrophysical sources to provide insight into our understanding of X-ray production in objects such as neutron stars and pulsar wind nebulae, as well as stellar and supermassive black holes.