Black holes have a new spectator! HXMT – China’s first-ever space telescope launched

New Delhi: Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is one celestial body that has been studied with great interest. Over time, there have been incredible revelations about its structure and evolution.

With advancement in technology, numerous devices have been constructed and built over the years to study the Earth’s starry home and the bodies that reside within it.

Last month, China announced the launch of its first X-ray space telescope which has unique capabilities to observe high-energy celestial bodies such as black holes and neutron stars thought to be hidden in the Milky Way.

On Thursday, China flagged off the Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT) via a Long March-4B rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in Gobi Desert at 11:00 am, reports Xinhua news agency.

Launched with an aim to observe black holes, pulsars and gamma-ray bursts, the HXMT has a larger detection area, broader energy range and wider field of view, as compared to X-ray astronomical satellites of other countries.

Weighing 2.5-tonnes, the telescope dubbed Insight, was sent into an orbit of 550 km above the Earth to help scientists better understand the evolution of black holes, and the strong magnetic fields and the interiors of pulsars.

Through the telescope, scientists will also study how to use pulsars for spacecraft navigation, and search for gamma-ray bursts corresponding to gravitational waves.

The result of the wisdom and efforts of several generations of Chinese scientists, Insight is expected to push forward the development of space astronomy and improve space X-ray detection technology in China.