Revealing the First Stellar and Supermassive Black Holes to EXIST


The epochs of origin of the first stars and galaxies, and subsequent growth of the first supermassive black holes, are among the most fundamental questions. Observations of the highest redshift Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) will be the most compelling in situ probe of the history of initial star formation and consequent epoch of reionization if their prompt and precise detection can be followed immediately by sensitive near-IR imaging and spectroscopy. Blazars are the persistent analogs of GRBs and for the same reason (beaming) can be observed at highest redshifts where they might best trace the high accretion rate-driven jets and growth of supermassive black holes in galaxies. The proposed EXIST mission can uniquely probe these questions, and many others, given its unparalled combination of sensitivity and spatial-spectral-temporal coverage and resolution. Here we provide a brief summary of the mission design, key science objectives, mission plan and readiness for EXIST, as proposed to Astro2010.

X-ray Astronomy 2009; Present Status, Multi-Wavelength Approach and Future Perspectives