Recently, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched a new mission named Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE).

Important points:

  • IXPE observatory is a joint effort of NASA and the Italian Space Agency.
  • It will study “the most extreme and mysterious objects in the universe – supernova remnants, supermassive black holes, and dozens of other high-energy objects.”
  • Its primary length is two years and the observatory will be at 600 kilometers altitude, orbiting around Earth’s equator.
  • It is expected to study about 40 celestial objects in its first year in space.
  • It will complement other X-ray telescopes such as the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency’s X-ray observatory, XMM-Newton.


  • It will help observe polarized X-rays from neutron stars and supermassive black holes. By measuring the polarization of these X-rays, we can study where the light came from and understand the geometry and inner workings of the light source.
  • It will help scientists understand how black holes spin and their location in the past.
  • It will help unravel how pulsars shine so brightly in X-rays.
  • It will help learn what powers the jets of energetic particles that are ejected from the region around the supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies.


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