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NASA's latest X-ray telescope reveals image of exploding star remnant


NASA's X-ray Imaging Telescope (IXPE) has sent its first image to Earth, showing the remains of a star that exploded in the 17th century, the space observatory was launched on December 9, 2021 from Cape Canaveral, Florida aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket into low Earth orbit.

According to the British newspaper, “Daily Mail”, the agency spent last month calibrating the instruments, and preparing to monitor the supernova remnants (SNR) in the constellation called Cassiopeia A.

This is the remnant of a giant star 11,000 light-years away, first seen in the 17th century, with shock waves sweeping across and heating up the surrounding gas, resulting in fast cosmic ray particles that produce a bright glow in X-ray light.
IXPE joins the Chandra X-ray Telescope, one of NASA's important space observatories, launched in 1999, to study different aspects of the X-ray spectrum.
The telescope is a joint effort between NASA and the Italian Space Agency, and is the first space observatory dedicated to studying the polarization of X-rays coming from objects such as exploding stars and black holes, as this is how the light is directed as it travels.
The new image, released by NASA, contains IXPE data shown as a purple ball, overlaid with data from Chandra, outlined in blue.
The saturation of the purple color corresponds to the intensity of the X-ray light observed by IXPE, and the blue shows the high-energy X-ray data.