Sign-up to support the Athena X-ray Observatory

  • Date sent: 8 June 2022, 09:54
  • From: Nanda Rea <>
  • To: Division D High Energy Phenomena and Fundamental Physics (2652 recipients)
  • Reply-To:
  • Subject: Sign-up to support the Athena X-ray Observatory

Dear all,

We forward below the email from the Athena Science Study Team seaking support to continue the mission development, since it is very relevant to this division.

Best regards, The IAU Div-D steering committee


Dear colleagues,

We wanted to send a brief update on the risk of a potential descope and delay of the Athena X-ray Observatory as a consequence of the proposals for the future of the ESA Science Programme to be discussed at a Science Programme Committee (SPC) workshop on 9th June, and in the weeks to follow.

The Athena Science Study Team (ASST) has sent a formal response to the national agencies, ESA and its advisory bodies to convey our reading of the ESA Executives’ proposal, emphasizing the irreparable harm to European X-ray astronomy that would be caused by major cuts and/or delay to Athena. In our document, the ASST made a strong case for ESA to preserve the flagship X-ray science of Athena and European leadership in X-ray astronomy, and stressed the size, strength and breadth of interests of the community that will benefit from Athena. We call on the delegates to take a fair and balanced approach to any unavoidable cost-cutting measures in the science programme, in full consultation with the ASST, the Instrument Consortia, and the community working groups.

The ASST believes that a statement showing the support of the large and diverse community to the mission may have a positive influence on the forthcoming discussion at the SPC. We warmly encourage you to sign the statement available at this link:

We emphasize that no decision on the future of Athena has been taken yet. We hope our actions, representing the interests of the large astronomical community, will contribute to Athena continuing the process to Adoption that ESA already started with the kick-off of the Mission Adoption Review on May 10, and that is scheduled to be finalized on June 2023.

We again encourage you to show your support to Athena by signing the above form, and to contact an ASST member with any questions or additional concerns you may have.

The Athena Science Study Team:
D. Barret, M. Cappi, E. Costantini, J. Croston, A. Decourchelle, J.W. den Herder, M. Guainazzi, H. Matsumoto, K. Nandra, L. Piro, N. Rea, T. Reiprich, R. Smith, N. Werner.