See the First Stunning Image From NASAs New X-Ray Observatory

This picture of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A combines a few of the first X-ray knowledge collected by NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer, proven in magenta, with high-energy X-ray knowledge from NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory, in blue. Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/IXPE

It’s first gentle for one in all the latest house observatories! The Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer workforce has launched their first picture, taken after a month-long commissioning part for the spacecraft. And it’s a magnificence.

IXPE checked out a favourite goal amongst house observatories, the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. While x-rays are invisible to human eyes, the quantity of magenta shade on this picture corresponds to the depth of X-ray gentle noticed. Needless to say, it’s intense with excessive power x-rays.  

For distinction, the workforce overlaid observations by one other x-ray observatory, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, which reveals up as the veins of blue all through the picture. Chandra and IXPE have various kinds of detectors, and due to this fact seize completely different ranges of angular decision, or sharpness. Together, they will produce extra full and detailed knowledge on excessive power sources in the Universe.

The picture can be a nod to the venerable Chandra observatory, as Cas A was Chandra’s first gentle picture, as properly. That mission launched in 1999 as NASA’s flagship mission for X-ray astronomy, and is still operating in a high Earth orbit.

IXPE Cassiopeia A

This image from NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer maps the intensity of X-rays coming from the observatory’s first target, the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. Colors ranging from cool purple and blue to red and hot white correspond with the increasing brightness of the X-rays. The image was created using X-ray data collected by IXPE between January 11-18. Credit: NASA

Since Earth’s atmosphere absorbs the vast majority of X-rays, they are not detectable from Earth-based telescopes. Space-based x-ray telescopes have allowed for new discoveries and new understandings of our cosmos.

This new image from IXPE contains data collected from January 11-18. The mission launched on December 9, 2021, on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. IXPE was placed in an orbit around Earth’s equator at an altitude of approximately 372 miles (600 kilometers).

IXPE is a joint effort between NASA and the Italian Space Agency, and is the first space observatory dedicated to measuring the polarization of X-rays from some of the most fascinating and dynamic objects in the universe.

The team said all instruments are functioning well aboard the observatory, which is on a quest to study some of the most mysterious and extreme objects in the universe.

NASA Imaging X ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE)

NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission is the first satellite dedicated to measuring the polarization of X-rays from a variety of cosmic sources, such as black holes and neutron stars. Credit: NASA

Cassiopeia A is the shredded remains of a star that exploded several thousand years ago. It is the youngest known supernova remnant in our Milky Way Galaxy and resides 10,000 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia, so the star actually blew up 10,000 years before the light reached Earth in the late 1600s.

The shock waves from the explosion have swept up surrounding gas, heating it to high temperatures and accelerating cosmic ray particles to make a cloud that glows in X-ray light. Other telescopes have studied Cassiopeia A before, but IXPE will allow researchers to examine it in a new way. The team is currently analyzing all the data to learn more, according to Martin C. Weisskopf, the IXPE principal investigator, in a press release.

For example, IXPE will allow scientists to see, for the first time, how the amount of polarization varies across the supernova remnant, which is about 10 light-years in diameter.

“IXPE’s future polarization images should unveil the mechanisms at the heart of this famous cosmic accelerator,” said Roger Romani, an IXPE co-investigator at Stanford University. “To fill in some of those details, we’ve developed a way to make IXPE’s measurements even more precise using machine learning techniques. We’re looking forward to what we’ll find as we analyze all the data.”

Originally published on Universe Today.

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