A New View of the Hot and Energetic Universe

Posted by ap507 at Nov 28, 2013 04:04 PM |
ESA selects the science theme for its next large mission
A New View of the Hot and Energetic Universe

An artist’s impression of Athena, and the latest map of the X-raysky (containing 375000 X-ray sources)

The University is collaborating with partners including the Science Programme Committee of the European Space Agency (ESA) for its next Large (L-class) mission.

The theme is "The Hot and Energetic Universe", and the mission, using an Advanced Telescope for High ENergy Astrophysics (ATHENA), is expected to be launched in 2028, with the power to address some of the most fundamental questions in modern astrophysics. 

With the new mission, astronomers will measure the properties of galaxy clusters in the distant Universe, and map the physical characteristics of the largest structures known.

This will dramatically advance our understanding of how these structures first assembled when the Universe was just two billion years old.

Plans for a mission like ATHENA started in an international research meeting held at the University in July 1996, entitled "The Next Generation of X-ray Observatories". Since then Leicester astronomers and instrumentation scientists have been core members of an international effort working towards the ambitious goal of understanding the universe.