Russia launches X-ray telescope to study black holes

Roskosmos has launched a rocket containing a telescope with which X-ray images can be made. According to the Russian space agency, this should be used to find undiscovered black holes.

It concerns the so-called Spektr-RG X-ray telescope, which was launched from the Baykonur spaceport with a Proton-M rocket. According to Roskosmos, the satellite containing the telescope has been successfully launched into orbit and all systems are working properly. Germany has made a major contribution to the construction of the telescope: researchers from the Max Planck Institute, in collaboration with Russian researchers, have built an X-ray module for the satellite, called eRosita.

The intention is that Spektr-RG will investigate the universe for black holes in the coming years. The project will take about 6.5 years, during which time about 100,000 clusters of galaxies should be investigated, according to the space agency. According to calculations, this could lead to the discovery of about 3 million supermassive black holes.

The research should shed more light on how matter is distributed in the universe, and what role the phenomenon of dark energy plays. It is not yet known when the first results will be published; the researchers are first still working on completing the tests.

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