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NASA’s latest IXPE space telescope lifts off on a Falcon 9 rocket

NASA IXPE

Before the anticipated James Webb space telescope, NASA today launched an X-ray band space telescope called “Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE)”. The design of IXPE is quite peculiar-it is equipped with a total of three different sets of lenses with a 3.7-meter interval from the main lens to accurately measure the direction of X-ray, arrival time, energy intensity and three different sets of light polarization directions . Combining all this information, IXPE can give us a clearer understanding of neutron stars, black holes, and other high-energy phenomena in the universe, especially about why neutron stars have particularly strong radiation in the X-ray band and the black holes in the center of galaxies. Where does the high-energy matter come from?

IXPE was launched by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. After launch, it will first unfold the solar panel. After about a week, it will extend the long rod between the lens and the main lens, and after about a month, it can start for up to two years. The scientific task is now. The first target of IXPE will be the neutron star Cassiopeia A left after the supernova explosion. This neutron star is an extremely strong X-ray source in the sky. It is also the first target of the Chandra X-ray telescope, which was launched in 1999 and is still in operation. . The two generations of telescopes selected the same target in addition to inheritance significance, but also can be used for comparison and correction.

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