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Spain participates in the Einstein Probe, ready to monitor the sky with X-rays after obtaining its first images

Spain participates in the Einstein Probe, ready to monitor the sky with X-rays after obtaining its first images

The Einstein Probe, in which Spain participates through the Supreme Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) of the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, is now ready to observe the sky with X-rays and contribute to the study of the universe. After obtaining his first pictures of celestial bodies.

The probe was launched on January 9 by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA), the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) of Germany and the National Center for Space Studies of France.

Researcher at the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE-CSIC) and the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC) Nanda Rhea, is a member of the science team of the European Space Agency's Einstein Probe; While postdoctoral researchers from ICE-CSIC and IEC, Francesco Cotti Zelati and Alessio Marinoparticipated in the project as associate members of the Scientific Thematic Committee on Compact Objects.

This international mission has the potential to expand our understanding of extreme cosmic events and will provide valuable data to address key questions about the structure and evolution of the universe.

In addition, ESA will have access to 10% of the resulting data, allowing the European scientific community to play an important role in analyzing its discoveries.

Observing the universe with “lobster eyes”

Thanks to its optical technology inspired by lobster eyes, the probe can observe large areas of the sky in three Earth orbits, allowing it to detect and monitor X-ray emissions from various astronomical objects.

In the months following launch, the mission operations team conducted necessary tests to confirm the probe's functionality and calibrate the science instruments. During this crucial phase, the Einstein Probe captured scientific data from several X-ray sources.

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These first images show the extraordinary capabilities of the Einstein Probe's scientific instrument. WXT Wide Field Telescope.

“The Einstein Probe will not only be the ideal 'hunter' for new transient X-ray sources, but will also allow, due to its unprecedentedly large field of view, the systematic characterization of the X-ray properties of sources located in regions of the planet.” “The potential for new and exciting discoveries is enormous,” the researcher said. Francesco Cotti Zelati.

For his part, the researcher said: Alessio Marino He explained, “With its unprecedented view, the Einstein WXT probe will capture all kinds of cosmic explosions in the sky while monitoring known astronomical sources for any unexpected signs of activity.” “It is a turning point in modern astronomy,” he added.

Next steps for the Einstein Probe

In the coming months, the Einstein Probe will continue to perform calibration activities in orbit before beginning its routine science observations in mid-June.

During the three-year mission, the satellite will orbit Earth at an altitude of 600 kilometers and will keep its eyes on the sky in search of passing X-ray events. Using the FXT follow-up telescope, the mission will look deeper into newly discovered events and other known objects of interest.

“We are now at a golden moment to reveal the physics that govern high-energy transiting objects in the sky. Having landmark data from the Einstein Probe mission will allow our group to have a strong advantage in the great discoveries we expect in the coming years,” the researcher highlighted. Nanda Rhea.

The Einstein Probe capability complements the in-depth studies of individual cosmic sources enabled by the XMM-Newton and XRISM telescopes. Its study is essential to prepare X-ray observations for the European Space Agency's future NewAthena mission, which is currently under study and which will be the largest X-ray observatory ever.

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