In DepthSpace Science

Japanese satellite targets the x-ray universe

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Science  05 Feb 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6273, pp. 547
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6273.547

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Japan's ASTRO-H satellite, due to launch 12 February, is taking aim at the most turbulent corners of the x-ray universe. Because of previous rocket failures and equipment malfunctions, if launched successfully, ASTRO-H will be the first major x-ray mission put into orbit since 1999. A slew of new technological developments make the craft significantly more powerful than x-ray observatories currently in operation. These enhanced capabilities will allow scientists to observe the gas squeezed within galaxy clusters, determining its composition, motion, and turbulence, all for a better understanding of how chemical elements evolved within the universe and what role interstellar gases play in star and galaxy formation. ASTRO-H will also allow scientists to resolve questions about ultrafast outflows of gas from active galactic nuclei and whether mysterious emissions from certain galaxy clusters are evidence of dark matter annihilation.