Spectr-RG has built the world's best X-ray map of the sky

Spectr-RG has built the world's best X-ray map of the sky
Spectr-RG has built the world's best X-ray map of the sky

The Russian Space Observatory Spektr-RG has built the world's best X-ray map of the sky. In just six months of scanning the sky, the telescope was able to double the total number of sources recorded by all satellites in the world in 60 years of X-ray astronomy.

And here are the first results of painstaking work - a million sources and the Milky Way on an X-ray map of the entire sky. The images were published on the official website of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

At the very center of the map is a supermassive black hole with a mass of 4 million solar masses. The plane of our Milky Way Galaxy passes along the equator, which we can observe in full glory in the south of our country on a moonless summer night. But on an X-ray map, the Milky Way looks like a dark streak because molecular gas and dust absorb X-rays. Blue dots - pulsars, black holes in binary stellar systems and supernova remnants.

The telescope's good angular resolution and high sensitivity have allowed over a million radiation sources to be mapped. It is impossible to fit such a volume of data into one image. This picture contains only the brightest of the sources, but there are many of them - many thousands.

Spectr-RG is a spacecraft developed at the Lavochkin Scientific and Production Association. Specialists from Germany also took part in its creation as part of the Federal Space Program of Russia. The orbital observatory is equipped with two unique X-ray mirror telescopes: the Russian ART-XC and the German eROSITA. Today "Spektr-RG" is one of the best observatories in the world, capable of making a full survey of the sky with a record sensitivity.

"We see the Milky Way and our entire Universe in X-rays. It is very difficult because X-rays are not reflected from the mirror. And we have in this instrument that we observed a colossal number of paraboloids and hyperboloids, where scattering occurs at small angles. But in total, a large area is accumulated, and we can build a very good image, "said Rashid Sunyaev, scientific director of the Spectr-RG observatory, academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, laureate of the State Prize of the Russian Federation.

Telescopes continue to work. The observatory will soon begin a second sky survey. Seven more detailed maps are planned for the next three years. As a result of this complex work, the general survey of the sky will become a real treasure of data for astrophysicists, and the resulting maps and catalogs will be used by scientists around the world for at least the next 20 years. Until one of the space agencies decides it's time to make a new, even more detailed map of the X-ray sky.

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