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Japan launched astronomy satellite ASTRO-H

The high-energy astronomy mission seeks to study x-rays emanating mainly from black holes and galaxy clusters.

Feb 20, 2016 08:01 IST
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Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on 17 February 2016 successfully launched astronomy satellite ASTRO-H from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture.

The satellite was launched on-board the H-IIA rocket, which was previously known as the New X-ray Telescope (NeXT), and is expected to operate in low Earth orbit for three years.

Features of ASTRO-H Mission

• ASTRO-H is the eye to study the hot and energetic universe. The ‘H’ refers to the word Japanese word Hitomi that means pupil or entrance window of the eye.

• The mission involves the 2700-kilogram satellite that is equipped with 4 telescopes and 6 detectors, allowing it to study both “hard” and “soft” x-rays and gamma rays.

• The high-energy astronomy mission primarily seeks to study x-rays emanating mainly from black holes and galaxy clusters.

• The mission was led by the JAXA in partnership with the NASA, European Space Agency, Canadian Space Agency, Netherlands Institute for Space Research and universities in Japan, Europe and North America.

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