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X-Ray Telescopes

What is an x-ray telescope? How does it work? What are some advantages and disadvantages of this technology?
by

Madeline Sykes

on 30 May 2011

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Transcript of X-Ray Telescopes

Wait...WHAT? It's this device that floats around in outer space. It reflects the x-radiation that certain celestial objects give off. Just like a regular telescope, we reflect the rays to focus them in the form of the object that emits them. History 1895: Wilhelm Roentgen, a German scientist, discovers x-radiation by accident. 1949: A team of American scientists (led by Herbert Friedman) send Geiger counters into space on a rocket. They discover x-rays coming from the sun. 1963: Ricardo Giacconi and his team from Cambridge, Massechussets send the world's first x-ray telescope into space. Today: There are two x-ray telescopes orbiting the Earth: Chandra from NASA and the ESA's X-Ray Multimirror Mission (XMM) Did you know... X-ray telescopes were originally focused on the Sun. Now they observe every object that emits x-rays (all 100 000+ of them) Benefits: They give us a clear image of x-radiation sources, helping us to understand dark matter, the gases between galaxies, and supernova expansion. They can detect even faint sources of x-radiation that we wouldn't know about otherwise. Drawbacks: Because x-rays are absorbed if they hit most materials at 90˚, telescopes have to be carefully designed so that thr rays reflect off the mirrors at small angles, and the mirrors must be madeof expensive materials like gold or iridium. They have to be deployed by rockets into space, a costly endevour. Meet Chandra. He's an American telescope that's been instrumental in the discovery of dark matter. This is what Chandra has seen: Crab Nebula Black holes Cat's Eye Nebula Andromeda Galaxy Supernovas: And much more... With time, we can only expect more amazing pictures and discoveries. There's something strange out in space... It's extraordinary It's revolutionary It's the x-ray telescope. It's this device that floats around in space. It reflects the x-radiation that certain celestial objects give off. Just like a regular telescope, we reflect the rays to focus them in the form of the object that emits them.
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