COSPAR 2012, event E1.7 - Beyond the continuum: X-ray line spectroscopy of compact objects
This event, E1.7, is part of the 39th COSPAR Scientific Assembly, which is held 14 to 22 July 2012. The purpose of the event is to bring together scientists working on all different aspects on X-ray line spectroscopy from compact objects, in an effort to assess the current status and identify the outstanding questions to be addressed by future missions. Emphasis will be given to overcome physical and technical issues that are currently under debate in order to reinforce the reliability of the various interpretations.
The X-ray emission from galactic and extragalactic compact objects is dominated by continuum processes. However, spectral lines, both in emission and absorption, albeit rare, are very sensitive probes of the physical conditions in the vicinity of the central objects. Relativistically broadened iron lines, cyclotron lines, surface lines on neutron stars and accretion disk corona lines have been reported for a large variety of systems as the sensitivity and resolution of instrumentation has improved. Missions currently planned such as ASTRO-H and ATHENA will bring a considerable advancement to the field, although even lower-resolution instruments can contribute to specific aspects of line spectroscopy.