Welcoming a New Member of the X-ray Family

An artist's concept of the XRISM spacecraft. The spacecraft has a cylindrical shape toward the front and a hexagonal shape towards the rear. The craft is wrapped in shiny, gold Mylar-like sheathing. A rectangular structure of solar panels is attached to the top rear of the observatory, overlapping the spacecraft on both sides.
Artist's concept of the XRISM (X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission) spacecraft.
Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

On September 6th, a new X-ray telescope was launched into space, joining the Chandra X-ray Observatory, XMM-Newton, and others already exploring the high-energy Universe.

The X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM, pronounced “crism”) is led by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, with contributions from NASA and the European Space Agency.

What will scientists use XRISM for? This feature from NASA describes some of what is can do and the embedded video does an excellent job explaining why ‘spectroscopy’ is so important to astronomers and their study of the Universe.

The background of this infographic is dominated by a long line, snaking from the upper right to the lower left corner to form a giant
A Guide to Cosmic Temperatures [More Versions]
Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Scott Wiessinger

So why do we need more than one X-ray telescope? Chandra and XRISM provide highly-complementary capabilities, with Chandra’s high-resolution images and modest spectral resolution well matched to XRISM’s ability to provide high-resolution spectra of diffuse sources at modest spatial resolution.

These capabilities will be used in concert to probe complex astrophysical problems, such as how gas at the cores of clusters of galaxies is heated and expelled so that these massive systems do not collapse in upon themselves. The two observatories will also be used to learn how shocks from exploding stars stir the gas and dust in our Galaxy, ultimately leading to the formation of new stars.

You can learn more about this international effort at https://xrism.isas.jaxa.jp/en/ and https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/xrism-x-ray-imaging-and-spectroscop... and stay tuned to astronomy news sites to hear about the launch!

—Megan Watzke, CXC

Disclaimer: This service is provided as a free forum for registered users. Users' comments do not reflect the views of the Chandra X-ray Center and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
Please note this is a moderated blog. No pornography, spam, profanity or discriminatory remarks are allowed. No personal attacks are allowed. Users should stay on topic to keep it relevant for the readers.
Read the privacy statement