Plane diffraction grating experiment

February 11, 2015
Measurement of the wave length

The science team of EXOS poses in front of the Athena launcher prior to the 2009 flight. EXOS, its predecessor CyXESS, and 2 future payloads are carried to space on Black Brant IX rockets to observe hot, diffuse galactic sources.

Computer Aided Design (CAD) model of the Off-plane Grating Rocket Experiment (OGRE) slated for launch on 2017. The project is led by Iowa and involves graduate and undergraduate students as well.

A false-color image of SNR G272.2-3.2 in X-rays. Red covers the energy range 0.3-1.2 keV with green from 1.2-1.7 keV, and 1.7-8.0 keV for blue. The outer regions of this remnant are shock heating clouds in the local environment while the predominantly blue emission in the center is enriched with ejected metals from a Type Ia supernova explosion

Ph.D., Astronomy, University of Colorado 2007

Contact Information

Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Iowa, 704 Van Allen Hall

Laboratory B08 Van Allen Hall

Phone: 319-335-3007, FAX: 319-335-1753

Email: randall-mcentaffer [at]

Biographical Information

I am a native Iowan, born in Sioux City, which brought me to the University of Iowa where I obtained a B.S. in Physics and a B.S. in Astronomy. This provides me with a unique insight when teaching courses and mentoring students in the same department that I attended. Following my undergrad work I went to the University of Colorado in Boulder to pursue my doctorate in astrophysics. My thesis project was the design, fabrication, calibration, and launch of a suborbital rocket. The payload was a high resolution X-ray spectrometer for soft X-ray spectral observation of the Cygnus Loop supernova remnant. In my free time I enjoy relaxing with my family and working around the house. In my free-free time I enjoy fishing, hunting, gaming, and playing ultimate frisbee.

Research Interests

My current research interests are driven by high resolution spectroscopy in the soft X-ray bandpass (E

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