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Lobster-ISS mounted on the upper platform of ESA's Columbus module on the International Space Station. The six detector modules, each pointing in different directions are visible.

The X-ray sky is highly variable and unpredicatable. A new X-ray source may suddenly appear, shine brightly, and then disappear a few days later. An all-sky monitor (ASM) such as Lobster-ISS can alert astronomers to important events occurring anywhere in the sky allowing other observatories to be rapidly repointed to take advantage of new opportunities. Currently astronomers benefit from the ASM on NASA's R-XTE satellite. This will be followed by MAXI on the Japanese module on the International Space Station (ISS). If all goes to plan, Lobster-ISS will be mounted on the ISS in around 2010. Lobster-ISS will be the first true imaging ASM, taking advantage of a breakthrough in X-ray optics called micro-channel plates. Imaging will allow Lobster-ISS to be much more sensitive than previous ASMs, opening up whole new areas of ASM science such as variability studies of Active Galactic Nuclei, stellar coronae, and sensitive searches for X-ray flashes. Currently, the ESA Phase A study is nearing completion. The Lobster-ISS Principal Investigator is Professor G. Fraser from the University of Leicester who leads a team of scientists from the U.K., Finland, Italy, the U.S. and Australia.

The phase A study was formally completed at the phase A review board meeting of February 16, 2005 and Lobster declared technically ready to proceed to phase B

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This page was first created on 27 January, 2004 and was last updated on 1 April, 2005.
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