Imaging X – Ray Polarimetry Explorer IXPE Mission

The Imaging X – Ray Polarimetry Explorer is called IXPE. It is a NASA Space Observatory. It has three identical telescopes that measure the polarization of cosmic X – Rays.

About IXPE Mission

  • The Mission studies the exotic astronomical objects.
  • It maps the magnetic fields of neutron stars, black holes, pulsars, magnetars, supernoval remnants, quasars and active nuclear galactic nuclei.
  • It is the first satellite mission that is dedicated to the measure the polarization of X – Rays from different cosmic sources.
  • The IXPE Mission was developed by Small Explorer Program of NASA. The cost of the mission is 188 million USD.
  • The main goal of the mission is to understand the high – energy astrophysical processes and their sources. This supports the first science objective of NASA, which is, How the Universe works.

What are the science objectives of IXPE Mission?

  • To determine the radiation processes of specific cosmic X – ray sources.
  • To explore the general relativistic and quantum effects in extreme environments.

Study by IXPE Mission

The mission will study the following:

  • Pulsars: Pulsars are rotating stars. They emit electromagnetic radiation from their magnetic poles
  • Active galactic nuclei: It is a compact region at the centre of a galaxy. It has higher than normal luminosity in some of the portion of its electromagnetic spectrum. They can be observed in radio, infrared, microwave, optical, X-ray and gamma ray wavebands.
  • X – ray binaries: The X-ray binaries are binary stars that are luminous in X-rays. Here there are two matter. One matter is called the donor from which the X-rays are emitted. The other matter is called an accretor that receives the X-rays.
  • supernova remnants: They are the structure that are formed from the explosion of a star in supernova. It is made of expanding material.
  • Pulsar Wind nebulae: It is a type of nebula found inside the supernova remnant
  • Galactic centre: It is the rotational centr of the Milky Way Galaxy.

Telescopes in the mission

There are three telescopes in the mission. They were designed by INAF (Instituto Nazionale di AstroFisica) and INFN (Instituto Nazionale di Fiscial Nucleare). They are designed to measure the polarization of cosmic X-rays.

About the launch

The mission is to be launched on SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle on December 9, 2021. It is to be launched from the Kennedy Space Centre of NASA.

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