NASA to build new ultraviolet telescope that will be 50-100 times more sensitive than its predecessor

February 15, 2024  14:11

NASA has officially approved the creation of the next generation ultraviolet telescope, which should be sent into space in the late 2030s. It will be called the Ultraviolet Explorer (UVEX) mission, which will study the sky in the near and far ultraviolet ranges and will be 50-100 times more sensitive than its predecessor, the Galaxy Explorer (GALEX), which operated from 2003 to 2013.

The new telescope will have two tasks. First, it must map the sky in UV light. Second, the telescope will be able to quickly change orientation to capture images of transient processes: supernova explosions, stellar mergers, black hole and neutron star jets, and other cosmic phenomena. This will be a valuable addition to the study of gravitational waves in the sky, where detecting the source of the gravitational wave is extremely difficult.

Viewing the sky in ultraviolet light reveals its hottest objects. First of all, they are young and old stars, when the processes in the cores are at a critical stage of activity. In addition, the UV data will reveal low-metal galaxies and a variety of other objects.

The planned cost of preparing the UVEX mission will be 300 million dollars without start-up costs, the telescope will be designed for two years of scientific work. The main details of the mission have already been worked out, as well as the feasibility study of the project. Production of the apparatus and its scientific instruments should begin in a year or two.

Amazing photographs of space are always obtained thanks to the work of several telescopes, each of which operates in its own range of electromagnetic radiation. All the power of the James Webb or Hubble Space Telescopes can't convey all the beauty of the universe without X-ray, radio frequency and ultraviolet data. UVEX will literally breathe new life into space exploration.

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