IXPE: Historic Nebula Seen Like Never Before

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IXPE: Historic Nebula Seen Like Never Before

Post by bystander » Mon Apr 10, 2023 8:56 pm

Historic Nebula Seen Like Never Before with IXPE
NASA | CXC | IXPE | 2023 Apr 10
On Feb. 22, 1971, a sounding rocket lifted off from Wallops Island, Virginia, with specialized sensors aimed at the Crab Nebula, a bright cosmic object 6,500 light-years away. In those days, before recovering physical tapes from the experiment, scientists first received scientific data on a strip chart recorder, a device that printed signals on paper. Astronomer Martin Weisskopf and his colleagues began their analysis on launch day by measuring the distance between signals using a ruler and pencil. ...

Decades later, Weisskopf proposed the development of an Earth-orbiting satellite with powerful instruments that could gather much more detailed measurements of the same kind about the Crab Nebula and other mysterious cosmic objects. That satellite became NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE), which launched on December 9, 2021.

Now, more than 50 years after the sounding rocket experiment, scientists have used IXPE to create a detailed, nuanced map of the Crab Nebula’s magnetic field, revealing more of its inner workings than ever before. The new results ... help resolve longstanding mysteries about the well-studied Crab Nebula and open new questions for future study. ...

Simultaneous space and phase resolved X-ray polarimetry of the Crab pulsar and nebula ~ Niccolò Bucciantini et al Determination of X-ray pulsar geometry with IXPE polarimetry ~ Victor Doroshenko et al
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