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China Launches Its First X-Ray Space Telescope

CNES Space agency Bourget 2011

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – China successfully launched on Thursday its first X-ray space telescope to study black holes, pulsars and gamma-ray bursts, state media reported.

A Long March-4B rocket carried the 2.5-tonne telescope into orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi Desert at 11:00 am (3:00 GMT), according to AFP.

The Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT), named Insight, will allow Chinese scientists to observe magnetic fields and the interiors of pulsars and better understand the evolution of black holes.

It will also help scientists search for gamma-ray bursts corresponding to gravitational waves and study how pulsars can be used for spacecraft navigation, Xinhua said.

“We are looking forward to discovering new activities of black holes and studying the state of neutron stars under extreme gravity and density conditions, and physical laws under extreme magnetic fields,” Xinhua quoted HXMT lead scientist Zhang Shuangnan as saying.

“These studies are expected to bring new breakthroughs in physics,” Zhang added.

The telescope will seek out new black hole activity by repeatedly scanning the Milky Way for active celestial bodies that emit X-rays.

Black holes are usually undetectable, but when matter falls into a black hole, it is accelerated and heated, emitting X-rays in the process, Zhang explained.

Full story: tasnimnews.com

Tasnim News Agency

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