China launches X-ray space telescope to study black holes, pulsars

China launches X-ray space telescope to study black holes, pulsars

China’s recently launched X-ray space telescope will enable scientists to observe and learning about pulsars, gamma-ray bursts and black holes.

The Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope was launched using a Long March-4B rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, which is located in the northwest the Gobi Desert, at 11 a.m. on Thursday.

The cutting-edge space telescope is expected to help scientists better understand the evolution of black holes, gamma-ray bursts and the interiors of pulsars.

Xiong Shaolin, a researcher at CAS’ Institute of High Energy Physics, said, “Given it has a larger detection area than other X-ray probes, HXMT can identify more features of known sources.”

No matter how bright the sources like pulsars are, the newly launched telescope will not be blinded.

In addition to help scientists study black holes, pulsars, and X-ray radiation, the HXMT will enable researchers to explore ways of using pulsars as benchmarks for next-generation space navigation technology.

A report published by Xinhua informed, "The satellite's developers found that a set of HXMT high-energy detectors, originally designed to shield background noises caused by unwanted X-ray photons, especially those from behind the telescope, could be adjusted to observe gamma-ray bursts."

"Black holes will be the focus of our observation since they are very interesting, and can generate various types of radiation, including X-rays and high energy cosmic rays, as well as strong jets," said Zhang.

Since the detection of gravitational waves, scientists have been eager to find electromagnetic signals corresponding to the gravitational waves. This will be an important task for Insight.