Thursday, January 29, 2015

NASA launches a super sensitive orbiting telescope 

X-Ray are absorbed by Earths atmosphere so one has to climb above the atmosphere to see them. NASA's Uhurus(1970) and the united kingdom's Aries V(1974) were spin-stabilized satellite that discovered around 400 bright X-ray sources. Astronomers realized that x-ray provide vital dues to the death throw of stars specifically supernova explosions and the final transition to white dwarf, neutron star, and black hole states. X-ray are a vital component of the radiation coming from energetic events such as solar flames.

Two technical advances helped the development of space telescope. One was the construction of advanced co-focal mirror system and the other was the development of space telescopes. One was the development of advanced co-focal mirror system and other was the development of two dimensional x-ray  imaging gas scintillation proportional counters. Using these, the united states launched the first orbiting satellite containing a fully imaging x-ray telescope, the high energy Astrophysical observatory-2 (HEAO-2) in November 1978.

HEAO-2 was renamed "Einstein" when it was in orbit and operating correctly. Einstein discovered that nearly all astronomical bodies emit x-rays. Also the angular resolution(a few second of arc) and the sensitivity was such that accurate maps could be made objects such as the Cygnus loop supernova remnant. The Einstein instrument were 1000 times more sensitive than those on Uhuru.
Einstein remained operational until April 1981 other space telescope have followed such as Exostat, Rheostat, Chandra and XXM Newton and all have continued the quest forever higher detail and sensitivity. In addition to new sources being discovered, it had been found that many x-rays are being emitted as material falls into all black holes at the center of active galactic nuclei.


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