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Candid cosmos: eROSITA cameras set benchmark for astronomical imaging

An overview and performance assessment of the seven cameras of eROSITA, a space x-ray telescope launched in 2019

Date:
May 25, 2021
Source:
SPIE--International Society for Optics and Photonics
Summary:
A team of scientists has developed the cameras for an astronomical instrument built to perform all-sky surveys in the x-ray wavelength regime. They highlight the features of the cameras, a key part of a telescope called eROSITA, describing the hardware development and ground testing, and report the performance aboard the satellite, opening doors to a deeper understanding of our cosmos.
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Recently, the eROSITA (extended Roentgen Survey with an Imaging Telescope Array) x-ray telescope, an instrument developed by a team of scientists at Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik (MPE), has gained attention among astronomers. The instrument performs an all-sky survey in the x-ray energy band of 0.2-8 kilo electron volts aboard the Spectrum-Roentgen-Gamma (SRG) satellite that was launched in 2019 from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

"The eROSITA has been designed to study the large-scale structure of the universe and test cosmological models, including dark energy, by detecting galaxy clusters with redshifts greater than 1, corresponding to a cosmological expansion faster than the speed of light," said Dr. Norbert Meidinger from MPE, a part of the team that developed the instrument. "We expect eROSITA to revolutionize our understanding of the evolution of supermassive black holes." The details of the developmental work have been published in SPIE's Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems (JATIS).

eROSITA is not one telescope, but an array of seven identical, co-aligned telescopes, with each one composed of a mirror system and a focal-plane camera. The camera assembly, in turn, consists of the camera head, camera electronics, and filter wheel. The camera head is made up of the detector and its housing, a proton shield, and a heat pipe for detector cooling. The camera electronics include supply, control, and data acquisition electronics for detector operation. The filter wheel is mounted above the camera head and has four positions including an optical and UV blocking filter to reduce signal noise, a radioactive x-ray source for calibration, and a closed position that allows instrumental background measurements.

"It's exciting to read about these x-ray cameras that are in orbit and enabling a broad set of scientific investigations on a major astrophysics mission," says Megan Eckart of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA, who is the deputy editor of JATIS. "Dr. Meidinger and his team provide a clear description of the hardware development and ground testing, and wrap up the paper with a treat: first-light images from eROSITA and an assessment of onboard performance. Astrophysicists around the world will analyze data from these cameras for years to come."

The eROSITA telescope is well on its way to becoming a game changer for x-ray astronomy.


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Materials provided by SPIE--International Society for Optics and Photonics. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Norbert Meidinger, Robert Andritschke, Konrad Dennerl, Valentin Emberger, Tanja Eraerds, Olaf Hälker, Gisela Hartner, Daniel Pietschner, Jonas Reiffers. eROSITA camera array on the SRG satellite. Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems, 2021; 7 (02) DOI: 10.1117/1.JATIS.7.2.025004

Cite This Page:

SPIE--International Society for Optics and Photonics. "Candid cosmos: eROSITA cameras set benchmark for astronomical imaging." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 2021. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210525160906.htm>.
SPIE--International Society for Optics and Photonics. (2021, May 25). Candid cosmos: eROSITA cameras set benchmark for astronomical imaging. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 26, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210525160906.htm
SPIE--International Society for Optics and Photonics. "Candid cosmos: eROSITA cameras set benchmark for astronomical imaging." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210525160906.htm (accessed February 26, 2024).

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