in Space

Leicester Uni receives first glass plates for discovery of new black holes

Posted 12 December 2016 · Add Comment

The University of Leicester is providing a new type of X-ray mirror to the French space agency, CNES, for the Chinese-French satellite 'SVOM' which is designed to discover and study Gamma-Ray Bursts from newly formed black holes.



Above: The hand-over at the University of Leicester of the Micro-Pore Optic plates for the first version of the X-ray telescope for the SVOM gamma-ray burst satellite. Left to right: Romain Roudout (Photonis SAS, France), Olivier Simonella (CNES, France), Jean-Michel le Duigou (CNES, France), Dr Jim Pearson (University of Leicester).
Credit: J Osborne, University of Leicester

 
SVOM will be launched into orbit in 2021.
 
The mirror will become part of the X-ray telescope, which is essential in precisely locating these new discoveries.
 
On Wednesday 7 December there was a formal handover of the delicate and very expensive glass components that form part of this mirror by the French team to the University of Leicester, so that the University team can test them and make the first complete version of this mirror.
 

Above: The Micro-Pore Optic plates in their transport container.
Credit: J Osborne, University of Leicester


Professor Julian Osborne, who is leading this work at Leicester, said: “X-rays cannot be reflected like normal light, only at very small angles, so X-ray mirrors have to be made to very high accuracy. Previously this has required very heavy mirrors, but the SVOM satellite cannot carry such a weight. We are making a new type of X-ray mirror, based on the eye of a lobster, which has microscopic square pores with reflecting interior surfaces. This new type of mirror has only a fraction of the weight of previous X-ray mirrors.
 
“Gamma-ray bursts are the most luminous explosions in the Universe, they are caused by the death of massive stars and by the collision of two dead neutron stars. Both types of explosion are thought to form a new black hole. The explosions are so bright that they can be seen even from the first few per cent of the age of the Universe. Such distant bursts allow us to study the evolution of the Universe, which is otherwise very difficult. Also, the recent discovery of bursts of gravitational waves gives hope that we will discover X-rays form the same colliding dead stars, this would tell us many new details of the make-up of these stars and the nature of the explosion.”
 
Dr Jim Pearson from the Department of Physics and Astronomy said: “We are very excited to be starting to build this new mirror. It will be the first lobster X-ray optic to be used in orbit. We have previously used Micro-Pore glass plates from Photonis in France for a different type of X-ray telescope to study the surface of the planet Mercury, so the SVOM X-ray telescope will be built using our earlier experience.”
 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

SSTL to build Galileo navigation payloads

Under an Authority to Proceed signed with prime contractor OHB-System AG today, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) is commencing work on building eight navigation payloads for Galileo, Europe's global navigation satellite

EDM produces cabin crew sector infographic

Provider of training simulators to the civil aviation and defence sectors, EDM, announced today that it has produced the aviation industry's first infographic about the cabin crew sector.

First Typhoons delivered to RAFO

The arrival of the first Typhoon aircraft, part of a batch of 12 of the combat jets scheduled to be delivered to the Sultanate of Oman, was marked with a ceremony, held on 21 June 2017 in the presence of the Commander of the Royal Air Force of

Renishaw's Lucy Ackland named one of UK's top 50 female engineers

Lucy Ackland, Senior Development Engineer at global engineering company, Renishaw, has been selected as one of the UK's Top 50 Women in Engineering in 2017.

IndigoVision previews BX Panoramic Dome Camera at IFSEC

IndigoVision this week provided a preview of its new BX Panoramic Dome Camera during IFSEC International 2017, which took place at the ExCel, London, 2022 June.

WEC secures full JOSCAR accreditation

Woodford Engineering Consultancy (WEC) has achieved full accreditation to the Joint Supply Chain Accreditation Register (JOSCAR).

Getac SK2703270617
See us at
SMI FAVWS BT0504290617SMI12DE BT203280917DSEI LB0911150917Aviation Africa BT18418SMIUAV BT1005280917SMI AirMissBT0305251017