Recently, the eROSITA (Extended Roentgen Survey with an Imaging Telescope Array) x-ray telescope, an instrument developed by a team of scientists from the Max-Planck-Institut fÃ¼r Extraterrestrische Physik (MPE), has attracted the attention of astronomers. The instrument performs a study of the sky in the X-ray energy band of 0.2 to 8 kilograms of electron volts on board the Spectrum-Roentgen-Gamma (SRG) satellite which was launched in 2019 from the cosmodrome of Baikonur in Kazakhstan.
“The eROSITA was designed to study the large-scale structure of the universe and test cosmological models, including dark energy, by detecting clusters of galaxies with redshifts greater than 1, corresponding to a cosmological expansion faster than the speed of light, âsaid Dr Norbert Meidinger of MPE, a member of the team that developed the instrument. “We expect eROSITA to revolutionize our understanding of the evolution of supermassive black holes.” Details of the development work have been published in SPIE Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments and Systems (JATIS).
eROSITA is not a telescope, but a set of seven identical co-aligned telescopes, each consisting of a mirror system and a focal plane camera. The camera assembly, in turn, includes the camera head, camera electronics, and filter wheel. The camera head consists of the detector and its housing, an anti-proton screen and a heat pipe for cooling the detector. Camera electronics include power, control and data acquisition electronics for detector operation. The filter wheel is mounted above the camera head and has four positions, including an optical and UV blocking filter to reduce signal noise, a radioactive x-ray source for calibration, and a closed position which allows for instrumental background measurements.
“It is exciting to discover these X-ray cameras which are in orbit and which enable a wide range of scientific investigations on a major astrophysical mission,” says Megan Eckart of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA, editor at deputy head of JATIS. âDr Meidinger and his team provide a clear description of hardware development and ground testing, and conclude the article with a treat: first-light images of eROSITA and an on-board performance review. Astrophysicists around the world will analyze the data from these. cameras for years to come. “
The eROSITA telescope is fast becoming a game changer for X-ray astronomy.
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