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Would you be interested in renting time on X-ray equipped space telescope?

siovene
31 Oct, 2016 11:34
Hello,

I have been in touch with a company that is exploring opportunities to bring Space Telescope observations to the greater amateur astronomy community.

They would like to offer time for rent on highly sophisticated and state-of-the-art modern equipment, able to perform data acquisition in the X-ray band on a space telescope, starting from 2017.

At the moment I am unable to share any details, but this would be just an initial inquiry about your interest.

So let's keep this an open discussion and please let me know:

  • is this is something that you would consider for your observations?
  • do you have any ideas about what objects you would like to image?

I would be very grateful if you took some time to consider these questions.

Thank you!
Salvatore
wanni60
31 Oct, 2016 15:52
Hello Salvatore,

first, I am positively surprised that such a special and expensive research satellite could be made available to amateur astronomer.

a ) What can one see with it ?

Using Wikipedia I tried to get a more educated picture of what x-ray is used for in astronomy.
Then I looked at  Google Sky, including the NASA Chandra X -Ray telescope overlays.
Here I found examples of composite images (optical, infrared, x-ray) from the Chandra data base.
Basically, X-ray provides you a high energy electron spectrum (just below Gamma-ray),  which is not visible to ground - based telescopes.

b) Operation
As with all remote telescopes, space based observatories operate under a schedule, including the preparation of the imaging instruments setup.
I have no idea what is required here.
The satellite operator would have to provide some guiding instructions or a standard catalogue.

c) Observational results
Such a satellite must be operated in a very economical way, because any change of orientation costs energy/fuel, which is limited onboard.
Most probably observation requests are grouped in some way, the requested imaging results are therefore not immediately available, especially
if the satellite is shared with professional astronomers/ agencies.
(The resulting data formats are hopefully compatible with typicall amateur astronomer tools)

e) Renting
NASA, ESA or other agency satellite data bases can be accessed free of charge, so the question is, why renting a satellite for imaging?
Of course, there might be interesting objects still missing on existing data bases, but one need  a good reason /background to pin-point a
X-ray telescope onto new targets,  especially when you have to pay for it.

But this could be interesting for the Astrobin community.
Observational requests could be grouped/prepared/discussed in a special forum

f) my ad/hoc summary

X- ray is a very interesting complementary window into the Sky and still full of surprises/discoveries, even for professional astronomers.
But I would have definitely to get some more education into Astrophysics in order to value this new frontier.
I would not just pay  for another pretty picture (in artificial coloring)
Cheers Wanni
siovene
02 Nov, 2016 08:15
Thanks for your input, Wanni.

I think that the Chandra X-ray observatory page, at NASA, is also a valuable source of information about what's possible with X-ray, what areas of studies it could offer, and what could the impact be for amateur astronomers.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/chandra/main/index.html

Wanni
NASA, ESA or other agency satellite data bases can be accessed free of charge, so the question is, why renting a satellite for imaging?
Of course, there might be interesting objects still missing on existing data bases, but one need  a good reason /background to pin-point a
X-ray telescope onto new targets,  especially when you have to pay for it.

I think it would be interesting to figure out what the value is in composite amateur astrophotographs with x-ray data. NASA and ESA and other agencies also offer a lot of data in the visible spectrum free of charge, but that doesn't mean that amateur astrophotographers don't want to take their own images anyway.

It would be good to know what the proposed system is capable of, but at this time I don't have that information yet.

Wanni
Observational requests could be grouped/prepared/discussed in a special forum

That makes sense. AstroBin would be a great place to coordinate such efforts, and depending on what's required, I could definitely spend time to provide ad-hoc tools on this website for that use-case!

Hopefully somebody else will pitch in this thread with ideas and opinions!


Stef
02 Nov, 2016 09:38
Hello Salvatore,
yes I would be interested.. depending on this price fo course.
I have special interests in WR stars, so X ray observations would be great for this kind of hot and massive stars.
It might be interesting also to observe and get data on pulsars, hot /massive binary and black holes (AGN or stellar bh).
For all of these objets, it seems to me more interesting to get spectra than images..
XRay Imaging can be great also for galaxy clusters in my opinion..
This make a lot of topics..right ?
Stephane
smile
patrickgilliland
02 Nov, 2016 11:33
Hi Salva

This is very interesting.  I start my studies next year so this would tally up very well with that and allow me to look at that which i will be studying.
I plan to also do some ground based NIR observations as well so composite visual/xray/NIR images should make for some revealing shots.
From the science side it opens up a whole new realm of seeing inside objects that otherwise are obscured.
I would be very interested so keep me posted as things develop.

PS: Idea…..
Active galaxies (interacting or other local phenomenon, black holes (including our own) and activity (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/chandra/nasa-s-chandra-finds-supermassive-black-hole-burping-nearby.html)  etc but even looking for additional signal in common objects would be immensly interesting.

Of course knowing the imaging scale will be useful to see if anything can be matched in the visual range.

Paddy
Edited 02 Nov, 2016 12:02
wanni60
02 Nov, 2016 13:00
Paddy Gilliland
Of course knowing the imaging scale will be useful to see if anything can be matched in the visual range.

Paddy, here an example of M1. Question is, are we talking about "Low energy X-ray" or "High energy X-ray" imaging ?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-ray_astronomy#/media/File:800crab.png

Stephane Neveu
For all of these objets, it seems to me more interesting to get spectra than images..
As Stephane said, it depends also on what kind of information you are looking for.

I am sure Salvatore could tell us when he get's more information about the Spacecraft and it's scientific payload
Wanni
Jooshs
02 Nov, 2016 15:19
Paddy Gilliland
Hi SalvaThis is very interesting.  I start my studies next year so this would tally up very well with that and allow me to look at that which i will be studying.
I plan to also do some ground based NIR observations as well so composite visual/xray/NIR images should make for some revealing shots.
From the science side it opens up a whole new realm of seeing inside objects that otherwise are obscured.
I would be very interested so keep me posted as things develop.

PS: Idea…..
Active galaxies (interacting or other local phenomenon, black holes (including our own) and activity (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/chandra/nasa-s-chandra-finds-supermassive-black-hole-burping-nearby.html)  etc but even looking for additional signal in common objects would be immensly interesting.

Of course knowing the imaging scale will be useful to see if anything can be matched in the visual range.

Paddy
I'd be interested in knowing what you are using for your ground based NIR observations since I've been diving pretty heavily into that here recently.  Maybe on off topic thread, but please do follow up with me on that.
jhayes_tucson
02 Nov, 2016 18:33
Salvatore,
It would depend a bit on the price, but I might have a lot of interest in it.  My key interest would be in looking for black hole emissions and looking at spinning dwarf stars in areas such as M1 and other PN.  It would be interesting to try to make movies of transient phenomena similar to what the ESO recently did in M1.  Keep us posted.
John
Thirteen
02 Nov, 2016 19:45
Time on a space telescope?   Well, yeah, that would be awesome.

I mean how fun would imaging like this be?
http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2015/ngc1333/

What people would be willing to spend may be decidedly less impressive.   I think this all comes down to the pricetag.

To answer your questions…

Yes
Yes, I think places like the one linked above would be fantastic targets and it opens whole new avenues for "pretty picture" amateurs.
trombone76
30 Nov, 2016 15:45
I would need to do more research on this. I assume this is not anything like Hubble so visual art would not be possible
and data would be pure scientific in nature. I wouldn't even begin to know how to process data of that nature.
 
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