A new astrophysics mission for a Low Energy Gamma-ray burst Observatory (LEGO)

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Conference Proceeding

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We propose a new astrophysics space mission for a Low Energy Gamma-ray-burst Observatory (LEGO) that will fit the envelope of a small-explorer (SMEX) type mission. The LEGO instrument combines silicon pixel detectors with ultra-high energy resolution and a novel cost effective fine-pitch coded mask, to image the sky with sub-arcminute accuracy in the 0.3 - 30 keV range with a wide field-of-view. LEGO is well adapted to study hundreds of short transients such as gamma-ray bursts and soft gamma repeaters in the unexplored energy range below 5 keV. LEGO takes one of the next logical steps in GRB studies in the post-BeppoSAX era by attacking the astrophysics questions raised by recent discoveries of variable radio, optical, and x-ray counterparts to burst sources. In addition to monitoring the sky for gamma-ray bursts, LEGO would provide a first all-sky monitor in the 0.3-30 keV range. LEGO will be sensitive to all mCrab sources in the sky in a day and to 0.1 mCrab sources in a year, and thus, may provide daily light curves and sensitive spectral measurements on about 103 objects and yearly data on an order of magnitude more sources.

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Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering

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