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NASA’s IXPE mission

Date: 13 December 2021 Tags: Space

Issue

A new mission named IXPE (Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer) has been launched by NASA on board a SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.

 

Background

The mission, launched from Kennedy Space centre, will be a joint mission of NASA and the Italian Space Agency. 

 

Details

  • The objective of the mission is to study the most extreme and mysterious objects in the universe such as supernova remnants, super-massive black holes, and other high-energy objects.

  • The mission’s length will be 2 years and will be at 600 kilometers altitude, orbiting around Earth’s equator. During its first year in space, it will study 40 celestial objects.

  • The cost of building IXPE is about $160 million. It was initially selected as a Small Explorer mission.

 

Instruments

  • IXPE will be carrying three state-of-the-art space telescopes. Each of the telescopes hosts one light-weight X-ray mirror and one detector unit.

  • These telescopes will help to observe polarized X-rays from neutron stars and supermassive black holes.

  • The polarized X-rays can be measured to study where the light came from and understand the geometry and inner workings of the light.

  • The new telescope instrument will complement the existing X-ray telescopes such as the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency’s X-ray observatory, XMM-Newton.

 

Scientific study

  • Spinning of blackholes

  • Study of blackhole at the centre of Milky Way galaxy

  • Reasons for Pulsars shining brightly in X-rays

  • Source of energetic particles ejected from supermassive black holes