NASA gearing up to launch first-of-its-kind space observatory

IXPE is the first satellite mission dedicated to measuring the polarization of X-rays from a variety of cosmic sources that has gone largely unexplored until now. It is set to launch December 9 on a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.


Devdiscourse News Desk | California | Updated: 29-11-2021 10:17 IST | Created: 29-11-2021 10:17 IST
NASA gearing up to launch first-of-its-kind space observatory
IXPE will carry three identical space telescopes with each having a set of nested, cylinder-shaped mirrors that collect X-rays and feed them to a detector, which takes a picture of incoming X-rays and measures both the amount and direction of polarization. Image Credit: Twitter (@NASAKennedy)
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U.S. space agency NASA is gearing up to launch the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission, the first-of-its-kind space observatory designed to study some of the most energetic objects in the universe - black holes, neutron stars and more.

IXPE is the first satellite mission dedicated to measuring the polarization of X-rays from a variety of cosmic sources that has gone largely unexplored until now. It is set to launch December 9 on a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

IXPE will carry three identical space telescopes with each having a set of nested, cylinder-shaped mirrors that collect X-rays and feed them to a detector, which takes a picture of incoming X-rays and measures both the amount and direction of polarization.

By analyzing polarized X-rays with IXPE, scientists will be able to answer fundamental questions about these turbulent and extreme environments where gravitational, electric, and magnetic fields are at their limits.

The launch of IXPE marks a bold and unique step forward for X-ray astronomy. IXPE will tell us more about the precise nature of cosmic X-ray sources than we can learn by studying their brightness and color spectrum alone.

Dr. Martin Weisskopf, IXPE's principal investigator.

The IXPE mission is a partnership between NASA and the Italian Space Agency.

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