HITOMI’s last “words”

HITOMI, the most sensitive X-ray satellite, was destroyed in March 2016, about a month after its launch. Despite its early destruction, HITOMI managed to perform significant science. The spacecraft observed the Perseus cluster, the brightest X-ray cluster in the sky, for three days. Analyzing the data, astronomers measured the motion of gas in the centre. Being able to measure gas motions is a major advance in understanding the dynamic behavior of galaxy clusters and its ties to cosmic evolution.

HITOMI reborn

HITOMI, the most sensitive X-ray satellite was launched earlier this year, by JAXA, the Japanese space agency. About a month later the satellite failed due to a engineering error in its control system. Now JAXA, plans a successor mission that could be launched in 2020.

A black hole in stealth mode

Astronomers observed a binary star system that contains a low-mass star and a black hole. The black hole pulls material from its companion star extremely slowly and therefore emits only a very small amount of X-rays. “It is so quiet that it is practically a stealth black hole”.