NASA will launch a mission in January to study the sources of space X-rays

NASA will launch a mission in January to study the sources of space X-rays

A January 2022 NASA mission called Diffuse X-rays from the Local galaxy, or DXL, will be launched in January in hopes of shedding light on X-ray sources darting towards Earth from other parts of our galaxy.

The DXL probe will be launched on the Black Brant IX sounding rocket between 10 pm EST January 4 and 2 am January 5, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Backup launch days are January 5-17. The two-stage rocket launch can be seen by residents in the Mid-Atlantic region. Live coverage will begin at 9:40 pm EST on launch day on the Wallops YouTube site. NASA's Wallops Visitor Center will not be open for this mission.

Although not harmful to humans on Earth, so-called "soft" X-rays can bring about changes in the Earth's ionosphere that can disrupt radio communications and the accuracy of GPS navigation systems. They have lower energy than "hard" X-rays, which are used in medical imaging.

"Diffuse very low-energy X-rays from space are believed to come from two sources," he said. said Massimiliano Galeazzi, the principal investigator for the DXL mission at the University of Miami, Florida. “The first source lies outside our solar system and is generated from the remnants of multiple supernova explosions that form what is now called the local hot bubble region of our galaxy. The second source is located within the solar system and is generated by the charge exchange of the solar wind. DXL tries to get a better understanding of the nature and characteristics of these sources ”.

This will be DXL's fourth flight. The first flight in 2012 confirmed the Local Hot Bubble as the source of these X-rays. Data from the flight indicated that only about 40% of the soft X-ray background originates within the solar system, which means that the 'LHB is the dominant source.

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