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NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE)

NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE):

Researchers studied a supernova explosion that occurred over 450 years ago using NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE).

  • The explosion, called Tycho, was visible to people on Earth in 1572, and the shock wave from the blast is still propagating through the cosmos.
  • Tycho is classified as a Type Ia supernova, which occurs when a white dwarf star shreds its companion star, triggering a violent explosion and sending debris hurtling into space at tremendous speeds.
  • Tycho released as much energy as the Sun would emit over ten billion years and blasted particles out into space near the speed of light.
  • Researchers used IXPE to reveal the magnetic field geometry close to Tycho’s shock wave to investigate further how particles are accelerated there and to study polarised X-rays from the supernova remnant.

Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer:

  • IXPE Space Observatory is a joint effort of NASA and the Italian Space Agency.
  • It studies “the most extreme and mysterious objects in the universe – supernova remnants, supermassive black holes, and dozens of other high-energy objects.”