Probe developed with DIAS help launches in Japan

Thursday 18 February 2016 10.52
The craft took off shortly before 9am (Pic: Jaxa)
The craft took off shortly before 9am (Pic: Jaxa)

A satellite carrying powerful X-ray and gamma ray telescopes, which the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies has helped to develop, has been launched from Japan.

ASTRO-H was due to lift off last Friday from Tanegashima, but the event was rescheduled to 8.45am Irish time this morning due to poor weather.

The craft will be used to study many astronomical phenomena, including the accumulation of particles into black holes, jets from active galaxies, particle remnants in supernova and the movement of hot gas in galaxy clusters.

The DIAS is one of 60 institutions around the world contributing to the mission.

Professor Felix Aharonian from DIAS is one of three European Space Agency funded scientists who are part of the ASTRO-H science team.

The mission is being led by Japanese space agency JAXA along with NASA and a collaboration of 250 scientists.

The 14m-long craft is known as ASTRO-H but will not be formally named until after it has launched, because of a Japanese tradition.

It will be the first spacecraft to have micro-bolometer detectors, which will allow the very accurate study of the interaction of matter and X-rays - some 30 times better than existing instruments.

Other equipment includes a range of cameras and instruments for capturing different types of X-rays respectively and soft gamma-rays.

X-rays can only be studied in space because they do not make it through the earth's atmosphere.  

Keywords: astro-h