On Thursday (9), the US space agency NASA launched the Exploratory X-ray Image Polarization Mission (IXPE, its English acronym). The mission is the result of a collaborative effort with the Italian Space Agency ASI and 12 other international entities.
The goal of IXPE is to observe the polarization of X-rays in supernovae, supermassive black holes, and high-energy objects scattered throughout the universe.
The launch was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA. “Together with our partners in Italy and around the world, we have added a new observatory to our fleet that will shape our understanding of the universe for years to come. Each NASA aircraft is carefully selected to make observations that will enable new science,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, Director of NASA’s Science Mission Manual. IXPE will show us the violent universe around us like we’ve never seen it before.”
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket was responsible for putting IXPE into orbit. The unit carries three special telescopes with polarization detectors – a feature that makes it possible to determine details in the spectrum of light that can reveal the origin of the electromagnetic emission. IXPE is a successor to other polarized X-ray capture projects, such as the Chandra Observatory, NASA’s flagship X-ray telescope.
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