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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Scientists to See Flares of 700,000 Stars Using Russian Space Observatory

Credit: Boris Kavashkin/TASS

Scientists expect to observe about 3 million black holes and the flares of 700,000 stars, using the Spektr-RG astrophysical observatory, Observatory Scientific Head, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Rashid Syunyayev said on Monday.

"We hope to observe about 3 million black holes and will be able to see the traces of sound waves. We hope to see the flares of 700,000 stars of our galaxy," the researcher said.

All the ground tests of the eRosita and ART-XC telescopes have been completed and these devices are expected to yield interesting results, he said.

It was reported earlier that the observatory would be delivered to the Baikonur Cosmodrome overnight to April 25.

The Spektr-Rentgen-Gamma (Spectrum-Roentgen-Gamma) space observatory is the largest joint project of Russia and Germany in the field of astrophysics. The spacecraft built at the Lavochkin research and production association comprises two telescopes: eRosita made by the Max Planck Institute for Extra-Terrestrial Physics (Germany) and ART-XC developed by the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and manufactured by the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics in Sarov.

After its launch, the spacecraft will be sent to a Lagrange point (a point of equal impact of gravitational and centrifugal forces) of the Sun-Earth system located at a distance of 1.5 million kilometers from the Earth. This point is well suited for lengthy observations of the entire sky because the Sun, the Earth and the Moon will always stay on one side from the spacecraft.

Over six months of its operation, the observatory will be able to draw a map of the entire sky in X-rays. Overall, eight such maps are planned to be drawn over four years in order to integrate them into a single high-precision map of the visible Universe and also watch the variability in time of millions of celestial bodies that look bright in X-rays.

The next three years of the space observatory’s work will be used to study in detail separate objects in the Universe. Russia and Germany will equally divide the observation time that will be distributed using applications by astronomers and astrophysicists from both countries.

There are plans to study in detail the properties of dark energy, detect about three million supermassive black holes and about a hundred thousand galaxy clusters. All the data obtained with the help of the Spektr-RG will be subsequently available for scientists around the world.

Lavochkin Deputy CEO and Chief Designer Alexander Shirshakov earlier said that the launch of the Russian observatory Spektr-RG was scheduled for June 21 this year with the help of a Proton-M carrier rocket and a DM-3 booster. July 12, 2019 is a reserve date for the launch.

Source: TASS

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