The space telescope released its first all-sky x-ray image.
After half a year of observing, the scopehas already logged more than 1 million objects that shine in the x-ray spectrum, including black holes gobbling matter, compact burned-out stars like white dwarfs and neutron stars, and gas between stars so hot that it gives off an x-ray glow.
“That’s actually pretty much the same number as had been detected in the whole history of X-ray astronomy going back 60 years. We’ve basically doubled the known sources in just six months,” said Kirpal Nandra, who heads the high-energy astrophysics group at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching, Germany.
eROSITA (extended Roentgen Survey with an Imaging Telescope Array is a German-Russian project, in which a space telescope was launched by mounted on the Russian Spektr-RG orbiting observatory.
Telescope is intended to gather seven more all-sky surveys over the next 3.5 years, which will sense deeper into the cosmos and pick up the faint sources that would otherwise be beyond detection. One key goal is to map the distribution of the hot, X-ray-emitting gas that illuminates the great clusters of galaxies. The mission also hopes to help explain how the mysterious force known as dark energy acts counter to gravity, pushing matter apart and accelerating the expansion of the universe.
The map uses the so-called Aitoff projection, which unwraps the sphere of the sky on to an ellipse. The band across the middle is the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy, with the centre of the galaxy in the middle of the ellipse.
The image has been encoded with colour to help describe what’s going on. Blues represent higher energy X-rays (1-2.3 kiloelectron volts, keV); greens are mid-range (0.6-1 keV); and reds are lower energy (0.3-0.6 keV).
“Eight surveys allows us to go really deep into the distant Universe. Basically, we’re trying to detect all of the clusters of galaxies in the Universe above a certain mass limit. We’ve got a nice sample already – maybe around 10,000. But we’re hoping to get at least 100,000 clusters of galaxies.”, explained Prof Nandra.
The orbiting telescope was launched in July 13, 2019, and its servey position is located 1.5 millions km from the Earth. It was reached by the December last year.