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Abstract

The launches of the X-Ray Observatory in June 1999 and the Observatory in December 1999 opened a new era in X-ray astronomy. Both of these missions incorporate novel diffraction grating spectrometers that are providing the first high-resolution X-ray spectra of most classes of astrophysical sources. The spectra obtained to date exhibit a wealth of discrete detail, yielding sensitive constraints on physical conditions in the emitting plasmas. We review the essential characteristics of these instruments, the basics of X-ray spectral formation in cosmic sources, and the exciting new results that have emerged from and grating observations of a wide variety of astrophysical systems.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.astro.41.071601.165952
2003-09-01
2024-06-15
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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