Research, Technology

What is the purpose of the eRosita telescope, which was disabled by Germany?

In July 2019 Russian and GermanThe researchers launched the Spektr-RG space observatory (the most promising!) to the Lagrange point L2. Its design includes two telescopes at once: the Russian ART-XC and the German eROSITA. Due to tension in the political sphere, in February 2022, it was decided to turn off the German apparatus, but the Russian side categorically disagrees with this decision. In early June, the head of Roscosmos decided to resume the operation of the telescope, because it is very important for the development of science. At the same time, some experts say that you can turn on the device only if there is agreement with your German colleagues - inconsistent actions can lead to breakdown. Be that as it may, the eROSITA telescope is now receiving a lot of attention, so let's find out what it consists of and what it is for.

Space observatory "Spektr-RG"

How does the eROSITA telescope work?

The eROSITA telescope is an improved versionGerman apparatus ROSAT, which worked from 1990 to 1999. It was developed with the cooperation of Germany, the USA and England. The design consisted of the German X-ray telescope XRT and the HRI instrument for high-resolution imaging. For all nine years of work, the scientific apparatus has collected a large catalog of X-ray images, which included more than 150,000 objects. The researchers also compiled a catalog of sources of extreme ultraviolet light - in total there are 479 objects in it.

ROSAT Orbital Telescope

The new eROSITA consists of seven paralleldirectional mirror modules - each of them includes 54 gold-plated mirrors nested in each other. These mirrors are needed to collect high-energy particles of electromagnetic radiation (photons) and direct them to X-ray cameras. For stable operation, the cameras are cooled down to -90 degrees Celsius.

Seven eROSITA mirror modules

The eROSITA telescope is part of the RussianObservatory "Spektr-RG". He is accompanied by the Russian telescope ART-XC, which is equipped with seven modules of gliding X-ray mirrors. Unlike eROSITA, it is completely under the control of Russian scientists, so there are no problems with its work. But the German telescope is now turned off, but Roskosmos intends to restore its work on its own.

Russian telescope ART-XC

Interesting fact: about 90 million euros were spent on the development of eROSITA.

Does it require an eROSITA telescope?

Prior to the outage, it was expected that the eROSITA telescopewill work for 7 years. During this time, he had to take off the entire sky and make eight detailed x-ray maps. Thanks to the device, it was planned to detect at least 100,000 galaxy clusters, 3 million galactic nuclei and 700,000 stars in the Milky Way. In general, based on these data, scientists intend to study dark energy - this is a hypothetical form of energy with which scientists are trying to explain the expansion of the Universe.

Data collected by the eROSITA telescope should help in the study of dark matter

In the summer of 2021, eROSITA project leaderspublished a detailed map of black holes and neutron stars in the observable universe. According to scientists, the telescope was able to capture about 3 million X-ray sources. They are the black holes of other galaxies, the black holes of the Milky Way, as well as neutron stars. Considering that before the creation of this apparatus, scientists managed to discover only a million such sources, it turns out that in such a short period of time, eROSITA discovered three times more sources than previously known. You can look at the map of black holes from the German telescope in this material.

All-sky soft X-ray map obtained in 2020

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The future of eROSITA

To date, eROSITA has built 4 of8 maps of the starry sky. Now the work of the telescope is stopped, so the mission is being delayed. If something breaks, the planned maps will never be received, and this will be a big omission for science. On the one hand, the Roscosmos corporation is trying to restore its work in order to obtain important data for science. On the other hand, tampering can damage the telescope and the data will definitely not be received. Only time will tell how the situation will turn out. In order not to miss something important, subscribe to us on Telegram.

One of the images taken by the eROSITA telescope

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The space observatory "Spektr-RG" is notthe only one doing scientific work. In addition to it, the Hubble space telescopes, positioned as its replacement, James Webb, the Fermi scientific apparatus and other devices operate outside the earth. You can read about them in this material - at one time it was very popular.