Quirks & Quarks

Canadian astronomers get new X-ray eyes on the skies

The Hitomi X-ray telescope satellite launched last week, and Canadian astronomers will get first look at its pictures.

A Japanese telescope with a Canadian instrument sees cosmic X-rays

Artist's impression of the Hitomi telescope. (Japanese Space Agency (JAXA))
Last week, the Japanese Space Agency successfully launched the Astro-H X-ray telescope, and, in Japanese tradition, renamed it "Hitomi" when it achieved orbit.

The telescope has a Canadian connection, as Canada contributed an important instrument to the device, which will compensate for vibration and temperature distortions of the telescope due to temperatures fluctuations in space. In return, the Canadian team working with the telescope, led by Principal Investigator Dr. Luigi Gallo, an astronomer from St. Mary's University in Halifax, will get first look at the data and images the telescope will produce.

They'll be studying X-ray emissions from some of the most energetic and violent events in the universe, including supermassive black holes and supernovae.

Related Links

Japan Space Agency Hitomi site
- Canadian Space Agency Astro-H site
Globe and Mail story
- CBC News story