The Suzaku satellite|
(Click for larger view.)
Suzaku is the latest in a series of Japanese X-ray astronomy
observatories that has NASA participation. It uses lightweight X-ray
mirrors and three different instruments to detect X-rays from
celestial objects such as
black holes, supernova remnants and clusters of galaxies. It uses a
revolutionary X-ray spectrometer called a
microcalorimeter. This device measures the energy of an X-ray by
taking its temperature. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
provided the X-ray mirrors and the X-ray microcalorimeter.
satellite was developed at Japan's Institute of Space and
Astronautical Science (ISAS), which is part of the Japan Aerospace
Exploration Agency (JAXA). In addition, various
Japanese universities collaborated with ISAS and the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop an X-ray
imaging detector. The Japanese also developed an instrument to
detect higher energy X-rays.
While under development, the satellite was known as Astro-E2. It was
successfully launched from Japan in July 2005, and renamed to Suzaku
once it attained orbit. Suzaku is the Japanese term for a divine, red
sparrow-like bird in Chinese legend which provides protection from
evil and brings good fortune. In Japanese culture, it also became
the guardian of the South.
Fully deployed in space Suzaku is 6.5 m tall and 1.85 m wide.
Science Areas that Suzaku will Study
Suzaku will study a wide array of objects. But these are among the
topics of particular interest:
Publication Date: June 2005