IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


13th December, 2021 Science and Technology

Copyright infringement not intended.


  • NASA launched a new mission named Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer or IXPE.



  • Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer, commonly known as IXPE or SMEX-14, is a space observatory with three identical telescopes designed to measure the polarization of cosmic X-rays of Explorer program.
  • The observatory, is an international collaboration between NASA and the Italian Space Agency (ASI).




  • The mission will study exotic astronomical objects and permit mapping the magnetic fields of black holes, neutron stars, pulsars, supernova remnants, magnetars, quasars, and active galactic nuclei.
  • The high-energy X-ray radiation from these objects’ surrounding environment can be polarized – vibrating in a particular direction.
  • Studying the polarization of X-rays reveals the physics of these objects and can provide insights into the high-temperature environments where they are created.
  • The mission’s primary length is two years and the observatory will be at 600 kilometers altitude, orbiting around Earth’s equator.
  • This new mission will complement other X-ray telescopes such as the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency’s X-ray observatory, XMM-Newton.
  • According to NASA, IXPE’s polarization measurements will help scientists answer questions such as:
  • How do black holes spin?
  • Was the black hole at the center of the Milky Way actively feeding on surrounding material in the past?
  • How do pulsars shine so brightly in X-rays?
  • What powers the jets of energetic particles that are ejected from the region around the supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies?