EP-WXT Pathfinder captures the first wide-angle X-rays of the universe

(ORDO NEWS) — EP-WXT Pathfinder, an experimental version of the module that will become part of the future Broadband X-ray Telescope (WXT) aboard the Einstein Probe (EP) satellite, released the first results of an early test flight on August 27, including an 800-second time-lapse X-ray photograph of the Milky Way’s galactic center Ways.

The EP-WXT Pathfinder was sent into orbit to test the functionality of the module. The experimental journey is intended to pave the way for EP’s future scientific work in orbit.

The mission is co-sponsored by CAS with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and is expected to be launched by the end of 2023.

The WXT test module is a broadband X-ray focusing telescope. Through the use of microporous lobster-eye optics, it boasts a field of view at least 100 times larger than other focusing X-ray telescopes.

A complete WXT flight package for EP will consist of 12 of these identical modules.

During the test flight, Pathfinder spent a total of four days of experimental observations in orbit. Despite the fact that the obtained results are preliminary and require processing, the test flight demonstrates that even a single observation can cover X-ray sources from all directions within the observed area of ​​the sky.

The images and spectra obtained from the test observations are in good agreement with the simulations.

The instrument was also aimed at the Large Magellanic Cloud. The results show that a single observation is capable of covering this entire galaxy, revealing a variety of X-ray sources, including black holes, neutron stars, and supernova remnants.

The resulting image of the distant quasar 3C 382, ​​located at a distance of 810 million light years, shows the telescope’s ability to detect relatively weak X-ray sources.

It is expected that in his future observations he will effectively monitor the variability of the X-ray emission of celestial bodies and detect new transient sources.

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