Athena Observatory helps to solve mysteries of the universe

Posted by ap507 at Jul 07, 2014 11:21 AM |
University involved in large-scale project selected by European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected the Athena X-ray Observatory as its second 'Large-class' science mission in the 21st Century, which will help to answer vital questions about the universe.

Combining a large X-ray telescope with state-of-the-art scientific instruments, Athena will study the hot and energetic universe to address key questions in astrophysics, such as how and why ordinary matter assemble into the galaxies and galactic clusters that we see today and how black holes grow and influence their surroundings.

Professors Watson, Willingale, O'Brien, Tanvir and Osborne along with other members of the X-ray and Observational Astronomy Group (XROA) in the Department of Physics and Astronomy contributed to the formulation of the science case and the scientific specification for Athena and are members of the world-wide consortium which developed and proposed it. 

The Athena Observatory will be launched in 2028 to study the hot and energetic Universe as part of ESA's Cosmic Vision 2015-25 plan.

Activities of the X-ray and Observational Astronomy group in the Department of Physics and Astronomy can be found here.

An artist’s impression of the observatory can be found here.

Further details about Athena science and instrumentation will be published in the Friday 4 July 2014 issue of the magazine Science and can be viewed on YouTube here.