US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The space telescope, launched in July 2019, has just completed its first observations. For several months, the eROSITA telescope aboard the Spectrum RG space observatory scanned the entire sky, collecting observations for the deepest view of the entire sky on x-ray waves.
Now all these data are collected in a map containing more than 1 million bright objects – about twice as much as in the last 60 years of astronomical observations.
“This image of the whole sky completely changes the way we look at the energy universe,” said astrophysicist Peter Predel, chief researcher at eROSITA at the Max Planck Institute for Alien Physics (MPE).
“We see so many details – the beauty of the images is really amazing.”
Most astronomical objects emit x-rays, but in different proportions with respect to other wavelengths. X-rays have a very short wavelength and, therefore, very high energy – are emitted by the hottest and most energetic objects, such as black holes, neutron stars, quasars and supernova remnants.
X-rays are invisible to the human eye, like radio waves. Thus, the sky in x-rays does not look like we see it at night. In addition, unlike radio waves, X-rays are mostly blocked by the Earth’s atmosphere, so we can only study them by sending telescopes into space.
A number of X-ray telescopes were deployed, but the most recent X-ray study of the entire sky was carried out decades ago, from 1990 to 1999, by the ROSAT satellite. According to a group of scientists, the new sky map compiled by the joint German-Russian eROSITA is four times more complete than the map extracted from ROSAT data.
It was a painstaking job. The Spectrum RG Space Observatory is located in one of the Lagrangian points of the Earth, in a gravitationally stable pocket created by the interaction between the Earth and the Sun, at a distance of about 1.5 million kilometers.
The tool collected data for 182 days, each exposure from 150 to 200 seconds, the total length of which is 165 gigabytes. Then all this raw data had to be processed and combined.
The map also shows the structure of the hot gas in the Milky Way galaxy and the gas that surrounds it. This is a huge amount of data, ready to open a deep understanding of the x-ray universe. And this is just the beginning. Over the next few years, the observatory will conduct seven more surveys, which together will make up a much more complete map of the sky.
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