A Successful Launch of the IXPE X-ray Telescope


The Imaging X-ray Polarization Explorer (IXPE), the first satellite dedicated to measuring the polarization of X-rays emitted by a variety of cosmic sources, was successfully launched on Thursday, Dec. 9 at 1:00am EST from the NASA Kennedy Space Center. The satellite reached its low-Earth orbit about 33 minutes after the launch, and will be taking data for the next 2 years after the 30-day commissioning phase.

Led by the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, the IXPE project involves international partners from multiple sectors, including Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Italian Space Agency (Italy), Roma Tre University (Italy), McGill University (Canada), Ball Aerospace, and OHB Italia (Italy). KIPAC professor Roger Romani is a co-investigator on the IXPE project and co-lead of the theory program and the science working groups. KIPAC researchers Greg Madejski, Nicola Omodei, Niccolò Di Lalla, and grad students Dinesh Kandel and Lawrence Pierson will investigate the following science questions by measuring the polarization of X-rays:

• What are the geometries and emission mechanisms of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs) and pulsars?
• What physical processes lead to particle acceleration and X-ray emission?
• What are the physical effects of gravitational, electric, and magnetic fields at their extreme limits?

By making measurements to shed light on these key questions, IXPE will help the astronomical community better understand the physics behind black holes, neutron stars, and supernova remnants -- some of the most extreme and mysterious objects in the Universe.

To learn more about IXPE, its science goals, and KIPAC's involvement, please see here
To revisit the IXPE launch, please see here