The High Energy X-ray Probe (HEX-P): supernova remnants, pulsar wind nebulae, and nuclear astrophysics

Stephen Reynolds, Hongjun An, Moaz Abdelmaguid, Jason Alford, Chris Fryer, Kaya Mori, Melania Nynka, Jaegeun Park, Yukikatsu Terada, Jooyun Woo, Aya Bamba, Priyadarshini Bangale, Rebecca Diesing, Jordan Eagle, Stefano Gabici, Joseph Gelfand, Brian Grefenstette, Javier Garcia, Chanho Kim, Sajan KumarBrydyn Mac Intyre, Kristin Madsen, Silvia Manconi, Yugo Motogami, Hayato Ohsumi, Barbara Olmi, Toshiki Sato, Ruo Yu Shang, Daniel Stern, Naomi Tsuji, George Younes, Andreas Zoglauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


HEX-P is a probe-class mission concept that will combine high spatial resolution X-ray imaging ((Formula presented.) full width at half maximum) and broad spectral coverage (0.2–80 keV) with an effective area far superior to current facilities (including XMM-Newton and NuSTAR) to enable revolutionary new insights into a variety of important astrophysical problems. HEX-P is ideally suited to address important problems in the physics and astrophysics of supernova remnants (SNRs) and pulsar wind nebulae (PWNe). For shell SNRs, HEX-P can greatly improve our understanding via more accurate spectral characterization and localization of non-thermal X-ray emission from both non-thermal-dominated SNRs and those containing both thermal and non-thermal components, and can discover previously unknown non-thermal components in SNRs. Multi-epoch HEX-P observations of several young SNRs (e.g., Cas A and Tycho) are expected to detect year-scale variabilities of X-ray filaments and knots, thus enabling us to determine fundamental parameters related to diffusive shock acceleration, such as local magnetic field strengths and maximum electron energies. For PWNe, HEX-P will provide spatially-resolved, broadband X-ray spectral data separately from their pulsar emission, allowing us to study how particle acceleration, cooling, and propagation operate in different evolution stages of PWNe. HEX-P is also poised to make unique and significant contributions to nuclear astrophysics of Galactic radioactive sources by improving detections of, or limits on, 44Ti in the youngest SNRs and by potentially discovering rare nuclear lines as evidence of double neutron star mergers. Throughout the paper, we present simulations of each class of objects, demonstrating the power of both the imaging and spectral capabilities of HEX-P to advance our knowledge of SNRs, PWNe, and nuclear astrophysics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1321278
JournalFrontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences
StatePublished - 2023


  • future missions frontiers
  • nuclear astrophysics
  • pulsar wind nebulae
  • supernova remnants
  • X-ray astrophysics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics


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