Einstein Probe Science


The primary science objectives are: 

  1. Discover and characterize cosmic X-ray transients, particularly faint, distant and rare X-ray transients, in large numbers. 
  2. Discover and characterize X-ray outbursts from otherwise normally dormant black holes.  
  3. Search for X-ray sources associated with gravitational-wave events and precisely locate them. 

These populations of cosmic high-energy transients will be characterized over wide time-scales and at high cadences, revealing new insights into a diverse set of systems including dormant black holes, neutron stars, supernova shock breakouts, active galactic nuclei, X-ray binaries, gamma-ray bursts, stellar coronal activity, and electromagnetic-wave sources and gravitational-wave events. Meanwhile, EP will also monitor the variability of various types of X-ray sources in large samples all over the sky. In light of the multi-messenger and multi-wavelength all-sky monitoring capability highly anticipated in the next decade, EP will produce a legacy data set in the X-ray band that are key to characterizing and understanding the nature of cosmic transients and variables, by working in synergy with the sky surveys by other facilities.

Einstein Probe will address some of the key questions in astrophysics and cosmology, and details of the physics which operates in extreme conditions of strong gravity. These include the prevalence of massive black holes in the Universe and how they formed and evolved; how black holes accrete mass and launch jets; the astrophysical origins and underlying processes of gravitational wave events; the progenitors and processes of supernovae; when and where did the first stars form in the early Universe and how they re-ionize the Universe.