China launches X-ray telescope for black hole observation


"We want to use it to resolve mysteries such as the evolution of black holes and the strong magnetic fields of neutron stars".

The satellite is named the Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT), informally referred to as "Insight". The government launched a Long March 4B rocket on Thursday, June 15 carrying what has been described as perhaps the most important astronomy mission for China in years called the Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT).

China has been making great strides in its space program in recent times, and in another such development, it has launched its first X-ray space telescope.

For easier recall, China's HXMT satellite is also known by the codename Insight, and as Xinhua reported, the goal for the satellite, which will orbit about 342 miles (550 kilometers) above the Earth, is to help scientists understand how black holes evolved.

The telescope will also be used to study the characteristics of pulsars and identify gamma-ray bursts corresponding to gravitational waves.

The HMXT Insight is the last of the cluster of four space science missions covered under China's 12th 5-year plan that were developed by the National Space Science Centre (NSSC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.

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Even though the scientific world is well aware of the existence of black holes, it actually possesses a small body of knowledge about them. Briefing to the media the project lead scientist said that this new launch would bring the new breakthrough in physics. These events generate X-rays, which cannot penetrate Earth's atmosphere, so they can be seen only by satellites or instruments placed on high-altitude balloons.

As we all know, the black holes are mysterious and we normally can not detect them.

"No matter how bright the sources are, our telescope won't be blinded", said Chen. The country has long announced that by 2022 it will be having its own crewed space station in outer space.

The China-Italy Electromagnetic Monitoring Experiment Satellite will be launched this August to study phenomena related to earthquakes from space.

It would also enable engineers to explore ways of using pulsars as benchmarks for new-generation space navigation technology.