Einstein Probe opens its wide eyes to the X-ray sky

Einstein Probe opens its wide eyes to the X-ray sky - Credit: EPSC, NAO/CAS; DSS; ESO
Einstein Probe opens its wide eyes to the X-ray sky - Credit: EPSC, NAO/CAS; DSS; ESO

Launched on January 9 2024, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) spacecraft Einstein Probe is the result of a collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) (Germany), and the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) (France). Equipped with two X-ray sensitive telescopes, it orbits the Earth at an altitude of 600 km and will keep its eyes glued to the sky for 3 years in search of transient astrophysical events.

Since takeoff, the team in charge of the mission has carried out the necessary tests to confirm the operation of the satellite and calibrate the two instruments. During this crucial phase, Einstein Probe captured scientific data from various X-ray sources, illustrating the exceptional capabilities of the two telescopes.

In particular, the Wide-Field X-ray Telescope (WXT) observes the entire night sky in just under five hours, while the more sensitive Follow-up X-ray Telescope (FXT) offers close-ups and can pinpoint short-lived events caught by WXT.

The first transient X-ray source was discovered by the WXT on February 19. Since then, Einstein Probe has discovered 14 new transient sources that are currently the subject of further multi-wavelength study, involving numerous telescopes on the ground and in space. Calibration of the instruments will continue in orbit until mid-June, then giving way to routine scientific observations.

The APC laboratory is involved in the mission's scientific groups, in particular for the analysis of data from multi-messenger and extragalactic sources. Strong synergies are to be expected between Einstein Probe and SVOM which will be put into orbit on June 24 in order to better understand the nature of the transient sources detected by the WXT on board Einstein Probe.

APC team on the project:
Alexis Coleiro  coleiroatapc.in2p3.fr ( )
Antoine Foisseau

See the full press release: https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Space_Science/Einstein_Probe_ope...
  • Einstein


  • Astrophysique à Haute Energie

Objet de la publication: 

Faits marquants projets