An IXPE launched back on December 9, 2021, by NASA captured its first x-ray image. The image marveled many “and wow- it’s spectacular.”
NASA deployed IXPE in Space to observe objects like neutron stars and black holes in x-ray light. According to NASA, in the first month of the probe into Space, it was prepping to capture its first photo.
On February 14, 2021, as people celebrated Valentine, the IXPE team released the probe’s first image. The photo is a “Cassiopeia A,” a star’s remains that burst into a “supernova” in the 1600s. “The explosion sent shock waves outwards, heating up around surrounding gasses and accelerating cosmic ray particles (high-speed electrons and atomic nuclei) to create a cloud of assorted matter,” NASA’S report read.
The brilliant glowing of the cloud in X-ray light makes the image stunning. According to NASA, they are eager to learn more about the supernova remnant.
Chandra is another x-ray observatory probe that NASA deployed in 1999. The two telescopes produce more detailed and complete data. Chandra, like the IXPE, captured Cassiopeia as its first image.
The polarization data recorded from Cassiopeia will enable scientists to see how polarization amount differs across the remains of the supernova. Scientists will establish new ideas on how Cassiopeia produces x-ray light.
“The IXPE image of the cassiopeia A is as historic as the Chandra image of the same Supernova remnant,” said Weisskopf. “it demonstrates IXPE’S potential to gain new, never-before-seen information about Cassiopia A, which is under analysis right now.”
NASA posted the marveling image on their Instagram page, which caught the attention of many people. People reacted to the photo with comments like “how beautiful.”
NASA responded to one of the comments to an individual enquiring about the service time of IXPE. “IXPE’S primary mission duration is two years.” Read NASA’s reply.