NuSTARâ€™s First X-Ray Images Are Of Black Hole
NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array or NuSTAR has captured the first test image of the sizzling high energy X ray universe. NuSTAR that was launched on June 13, is the first space telescope with the ability to focus on high energy, short length X ray lights from some of the most dynamic objects in space like the black holes and supernova remnants.
It was on June 21 that the observatory extended a 33 foot mast to separate its light gathering optics from their focal point. And the first image this telescope captured was of Cygnus X-1. This particular black hole was chosen as a first target because it is extremely bright in X-rays, allowing the NuSTAR team to easily see where the telescope's focused X-rays are falling on the detectors.
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The $165 million telescope will soon begin its exploration of hidden black holes, cinder balls left over from the star explosions and other sites of extreme physics in our cosmos.
Fiona Harrison, the mission's principal investigator at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif. who first conceived of NuSTAR black hole-hunting mission 15 years ago said, "Today, we obtained the first-ever focused images of the high-energy X-ray universe. It's like putting on a new pair of glasses and seeing aspects of the world around us clearly for the first time."
In the coming next week, the team targets two other bright calibration targets, G21.5-0.9, which is a remnant of a supernova explosion that occurred several thousand years ago in Milky Way galaxy. The next is 3C273 which is actively feeding black hole or quasar. This is located 2 billion light years away at the centre of another galaxy. The scientists are focusing on these two in order to make small adjustment to place the X ray light at the optimum spot the detector.
Daniel Stern of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. said, "This is a really exciting time for the team. We can already see the power of NuSTAR to crack open the high-energy X-ray universe and reveal secrets that were impossible to get at before."
NuSTAR's mission will last for at least two years focusing on most energetic objects in the universe producing images with 100 times the sensitivity and 10 times the resolution of its predecessors operating at the same wave length.