Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE)

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 11, 2022, 7:30

The Imaging x-ray polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission was launched on December 9, 2021, after being announced on January 3, 2017. It was sent into orbit by SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

In June 2017, the Italian Space Agency (ASI) agreed to deliver the X-ray polarization detectors in an international effort. The Expedition and its two-year operation are expected to cost US$188 million.

Other X-ray telescopes will benefit from the new project, such as the European Space Agency's X-ray observatory, XMM-Newton, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. This is also NASA's first mission to investigate the polarization of X-rays emitted by diverse astronomical objects. In the first year in space, Imaging x-ray polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) is intended to explore around 40 astronomical entities. Its primary duration is two years, and the observatory will be located 600 kilometres above sea level, circling the equator.

Significance of Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE)

Imaging x-ray polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) will aid in the detection of polarized X-rays emitted by neutron stars and supermassive black holes. Scholars may investigate where the light came from and comprehend the geometry and inner workings of the light source by analyzing the polarization of these X-rays, and this will enable scientists in the following ways:

  • Aid In their understanding of how black holes rotate and their past locations.
  • Researchers will figure out why pulsars glow so intensely in X-rays.
  • Imaging x-ray polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) will aid in determining what drives the intense particle jets emitted from the area surrounding supermassive black holes at galaxies' cores.

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Instruments Used in Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE)

Imaging x-ray polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) is equipped with three cutting-edge space telescopes. It has three telescopes on board. One light-weight X-ray mirror and one detection unit are housed in these three identical telescopes. The polarized X-rays emitted by neutron stars and supermassive black holes will be seen with these telescopes.

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Operations of Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE)

Imaging x-ray polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) is designed to last two years. After then, it might be decommissioned and deorbited, or it could be granted a further mission.

NASA targeted the IXPE spacecraft at 1ES 1959+650, a black hole, and SMC X-1, a pulsar, for calibration after launch and deployment. After that, Cassiopeia A, the spacecraft's initial science target, was spotted. Cassiopeia A's first-light picture was released on January 11, 2022. During IXPE's first year, 30 targets are expected to be monitored.

A base station in Malindi, Kenya, connects Imaging x-ray polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) to the rest of the world. The Italian Space Agency owns and operates the ground station.

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FAQs on Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE)

Q.1. When was the Imaging x-ray polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) Expedition launched?

On December 9, NASA launched the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission from Florida.

Q.2. What will Imaging x-ray polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) study?

The Imaging x-ray polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission will investigate the universe's most extreme and puzzling things, including supermassive black holes, supernova debris, and other rising objects.

Q.3. How long will the Imaging x-ray polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission last?

The Expedition's primary duration is two years. Imaging x-ray polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) is scheduled to explore over 40 celestial objects during its first year in orbit.

Q.4. Where is the Ground Observatory of Imaging x-ray polarimetry Explorer (IXPE)?

A base station in Malindi, Kenya, connects Imaging x-ray polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) to the rest of the world. The Italian Space Agency owns and operates the ground station.

Q.5. Why is Imaging x-ray polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) significant to Cosmological Advancement?

Imaging x-ray polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) is the first satellite to determine the polarization of X-rays emitted by a wide range of cosmic objects, including black holes and neutron stars.