Mullard Space Science Laboratory

A. M. Cruise
Rocket studies of cosmic X-ray sources

1973 (supervisor: A. P. Willmore)

The results from three x-ray telescopes flown on sounding rockets are presented and discussed.

During the first flight a large area detector scanned through the constellations of Cygnus and Vela. The x-ray source Cygnus X-1 was observed twice and a spectrum of its emission in the energy range 2.8-9.9 keV was obtained. A search was made for significant periodic fluctuations in the x-ray flux from the source.

Three radio pulsars appeared in the field of view during the scan across Vela. The data was searched for evidence of x-ray pulsations at the same period as the radio emissions. Upper limits to the pulsed x-ray flux from these pulsars were obtained together with upper limits to their steady x-ray output.

Two Rotation Collimator instruments were flown on spin stabilized skylarks SL 1021 and SL 973. They observed the Sagittarius-Scorpius region. In both cases the results were severely degraded by motion of the spin axis during the observations. Data from attitude sensing equipment on the vehicle was analysed to determine the parameters of the motions present. A theoretical investigation of the effect of two idealized forms of spin axis motion on the intensity of the resulting images showed good agreement with the observations. The measured coning of the two payloads was found to account accurately for the degradation of the images produced.


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