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Thread: Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer launched today!!

  1. #1 Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer launched today!! 
    Forum Masters Degree Double Helix's Avatar
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    Dec 2020
    The IXPE was launched today for the next round of X-ray astronomy (1,2).

    This instrument contains three identical telescopes to measure polarized X-rays from a variety of high energy sources. It is likely to add significantly to our understanding of the physics of such objects like quasars, AGNs, black holes and magnetars, to name a few.

    Quoting from the wiki link, the instrument is designed to :

    "- Improve polarization sensitivity by two orders of magnitude over the X-ray polarimeter aboard the Orbiting Solar Observatory 8

    - Provide simultaneous spectral, spatial, and temporal measurements

    - Determine the geometry and the emission mechanism of active galactic nuclei and microquasars

    - Find the magnetic field configuration in magnetars and determine the magnitude of the field

    - Find the mechanism for X-ray production in pulsars (both isolated and accreting) and the geometry

    - Determine how particles are accelerated in pulsar wind nebula

    By obtaining X-ray polarimetry and polarimetric imaging of cosmic sources, IXPE addresses two specific science objectives : to determine the radiation processes and detailed properties of specific cosmic X-ray sources or categories of sources; and to explore general relativistic and quantum effects in extreme environments."

    end quote

    Sounds like some serious data will be coming in soon from high energy objects. First light is expected in January.

    "NASA Launches New Mission to Explore Universe’s Most Dramatic Objects"




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  3. #2  
    Forum Masters Degree Double Helix's Avatar
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    Dec 2020
    NASA's Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) has finished commissioning and has returned its first image*. The X-Ray observatory captured polarized X-rays from supernova remnant Cassiopeia A, and were then combined with data from the Chandra image.

    Quoting from the article :

    "Using IXPE to study the polarization of cosmic X-rays could help scientists better understand the remnants of exploded stars, like black holes and neutron stars, their environments and how they produce X-rays. This perspective on extreme cosmic objects could also reveal the answers to larger fundamental questions about physics."

    end quote

    IXPE will clearly reveal valuable data on extreme environments. It will also provide some very pretty pictures!

    "Glowing clouds surround an exploded star in NASA mission's stunning first image"


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