Personal tools
Log in

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation


Istituto italiano di astrofisica - national institute for astrophisics

You are here: Home INAF News IXPE mission: Italy and NASA for new X-ray astronomy

IXPE mission: Italy and NASA for new X-ray astronomy

NASA has announced that it is funding a new mission to study the high-energy Universe: it will be called IXPE (Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer) and will allow astronomers to explore with unprecedented details some of the most extreme astronomic objects, including stellar and supermassive black holes, neutron stars and pulsars. The mission, scheduled for the end of 2020, will count on a considerable Italian contribution through the Italian Space Agency(ASI), the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) and the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF).

Exotic remote objects – such as black holes and neutron stars – are all extremely dense and heat surrounding gases up to temperatures of million grades. This heat produces the emission of X-rays by the gas, with a radiation that can be polarized, i.e. it can vibrate in a particular direction. The IXPE mission will use three space telescopes, with instruments that can measure the polarization of cosmic X-rays. The analyses will allow scientists to answer fundamental questions about the Universe most turbulent environments.

Among the innovative X-ray detectors, the IXPE mission will take the Gas Pixel Detectors (GPDs) on board, which have been designed, developed and qualified for space at the INFN in collaboration with INAF, and support from ASI. Thanks to the GPDs, which will be located in the three telescopes hosted inside the satellite, it will be possible to obtain unique data on cosmic sources that were inaccessible until today. ASI will also make its Malindi base available to receive data form the mission.

“I think that we should be proud of having introduced and developed a new detection technology bound to open a new observation window on the Universe”, said Ronaldo Bellazzini, from the INFN section of Pisa, Italian project co-lead and designer of the GPD concept. “I am very happy that a mission that was conceived many years ago by Enrico Costa from INAF with the crucial contribution of Ronaldo Bellazzini from INFN will finally be implemented, since it will open a new window on X-ray astronomy”, said Paolo Soffitta, team leader of IXPE activities at INAF.

Source: ResearchItaly

Filed under: ,

INAF researcher wins a Consolidator Grant 2017

Dec 20, 2017

INAF researcher wins a Consolidator Grant 2017 Two black hole systems are the investigational topic of DEMOBLACK: one of the projects that have been granted the European Consolidator Grant, which was submitted by Michela Mapelli, a researcher of the National Institute for Astrophysics-INAF and Professor at the University of Innsbruck in Austria

Light in Astronomy 2017

Nov 14, 2017

Light in Astronomy 2017 Light in Astronomy, organized by INAF in collaboration with the Italian Astronomical Society-SAIt, will be a week (13-19 November) dedicated to satisfying curiosity about the Universe thanks to the opening in Italy of INAF premises, including the astronomical observatories.

Marsis radar reveals that on Mars all that echoes is not ice

Oct 28, 2017

Marsis radar reveals that on Mars all that echoes is not ice The low dielectric constant of the Meridiani Planum deposits is consistent with a thick layer of ice-free, porous, basaltic sand. This study is fundamental to identify techniques that may help find the planet’s areas with accessible water ice.