A space telescope built in Germany is producing the most comprehensive map of the neutron stars and black holes in our universe in less than 2 years, unveiling more than 3 million novel objects.
eROSITA is the first space-centered X-ray telescope able to view the entire sky, and it was launched in 2019. It is the primary instrument on board the Russian-German Spectrum-Roentgen-Gamma operation, which is based in Lagrange point 2, which is one of five stable points in solar system where the gravitational pulls of the two bodies are equal. eROSITA has a good view of the universe from this vantage position, that it captures with its strong X-ray detection sensors.
Last month, the eROSITA team, coordinated by scientists from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, made the first batch of the data obtained by the device available for an investigation to the larger scientific community. The telescope has already yielded some fascinating results, such as discovering massive X-ray bubbles coming from the Milky Way’s center. According to the mission’s principal scientist Andrea Merloni, eROSITA is prepared to shed light on several long-standing cosmological questions, including the dispersal of elusive dark energy in universe, with its first public research release.
“For the first time,” Merloni added, “we possess an X-ray telescope which can be utilized in very comparable ways to the big field optical telescopes we use today.” “We can examine large-scale formations like the Milky Way with eROSITA because it covers the entire sky very effectively.” All-sky surveys, like the Gaia mission of the European Space Agency or the European Southern Observatory’s ground-centered Very Large Telescope, photograph large areas of the sky in a single sweep, allowing astronomers to study the motions of whole populations of celestial objects and stars. Gaia, for example, monitors almost two billion stars in Milky Way galaxy and accurately measures their locations in the sky as well as distances from Earth.
“Large survey optical telescopes have become rather popular because they are really good for studying cosmology [universe development] and topics like dark energy,” Merloni remarked. “However, optical telescopes are far more straightforward to create than X-ray telescopes.” However, some of the Universe’s most fascinating objects do not emit light at observable wavelengths and hence remain largely invisible to optical telescopes. Neutron stars and Black holes are examples of this. However, X-rays make it easier to see distant galaxy clusters, conglomerations of galaxies that constitute the Universe’s most complex formations. Previous X-ray telescopes, such as European Space Agency’s XMM Newton and NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, can only observe limited portions of the sky at a time.