Arcus: Exploring the Formation and Evolution of Clusters, Galaxies and Stars (speaker: Randall Smith, SAO)
The Large Scale Structure (LSS) of the Universe grew via the gravitational collapse of dark matter, but the visible components that trace the LSS-galaxies, groups and clusters-have a more complex history. Their baryons experience shock heating, radiative cooling and feedback from black holes and star formation, which leave faint signatures of hot (T~10^5-10^8 K), metal-enriched gas in the interstellar and intergalactic media (ISM and IGM). While recent Planck and X-ray studies support this scenario, no current mission possesses the instrumentation necessary to provide direct observational evidence for these missing baryons. Arcus leverages recent advances in critical-angle transmission (CAT) gratings and silicon pore optics (SPOs), using CCDs with strong Suzaku heritage and electronics based on the Swift mission; both the spacecraft and mission operations reuse highly successful designs. Currently in a competitive Phase A and with a potential launch in 2023, Arcus will be the only observatory capable of studying, in detail, the hot galactic and intergalactic gas-the dominant baryonic component in the present-day Universe and ultimate reservoir of entropy, metals and the output from cosmic feedback. Its superior soft X-ray sensitivity will complement the forthcoming post-Hitomi and Athena calorimeters, which will have comparably high spectral resolution above 2 keV but poorer spectral resolution than Chandra or XMM-Newton in the Arcus bandpass.