Telescope X-Calibur

Question: Consider the following statements regarding Telescope X-Calibur:
1) This satellite was launched from Antarctica
2) It is developed to look/examine the activities and movement of Mars
3) It is developed by NASA in US
4) This telescope will go above 99% of Earth’s atmosphere
Correct option:

(a) 1,2 and 4
(b) 1, 2 and 3
(c) 2, 3 and 4
(d) All of the above.
Answer: (c)
Related facts:

  • The international team of scientists and engineers of Washington University, US and several other universities developed the X-Calibur telescope. This was launched on January 5th, 2019, from McMurdo station in Antarctica.
  • The telescope was lifted on a helium balloon intended to reach an altitude of 1, 30,000 ft. and above, (99% of Earth`s atmosphere). In around eight days it will make a single revolution of Antarctic continent to gather enough data to make the mission a success.
  • X-Calibur will measure the polarisation (the plane in which the electric field of the X-rays oscillates) to high energy x-ray emission. This will help in gaining insight into how black holes in a binary orbit with stars grow by gobbling up stellar matters.
  • The team will also observe X-rays from neutron stars, the 12 km radius objects with masses exceeding the mass of our sun. Neutron stars are objects with very small radius (typically 30km) and very high density, composed predominantly of closely packed neutrons.
  • Researchers also hope to use the Vela X-1 observation revealing acceleration of particles to high energies by neutron stars. Vela X-1 is a neutron star in binary orbit with a supergiant star.
  • This project was financially supported by NASA and McDonnell Centre for Space Science.


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