The Russian-German telescope reached its operational point of 1.5 million kilometers (932,000 miles) away from Earth on Monday where it is set to map the entire sky in unprecedented detail.
"The scientific program is already underway. We started it in August. With the help of the Russian telescope ART-XC [Astronomical Roentgen Telescope X-ray Concentrator], we have investigated several dozen sites, hundreds of sources. There have been observations of pulsars, supernova explosions, extragalactic objects, the Andromeda galaxy, the Small Magellanic Cloud," Pavlinsky said.
The Spektr-RG mission is a joint project between Roscosmos and the German space agency DLR. Spektr-RG was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on July 13.
For the next four years the telescope is expected to perform eight all-sky surveys to map X-rays sources in the universe with unprecedented detail. The 2.5 years after that are planned for observations of selected galaxy clusters.
X-ray telescopes are best suited for photographing distant objects of the universe, such as clusters of galaxies, active galactic nuclei, supernova remnants and x-ray binary stars. All these objects are extremely hot and, as a result, emit x-ray radiation. Telescopes of this type are extremely useful for studying the distant history of the universe. The difficulty of observation in the x-ray range is that the telescope must be raised above the atmosphere of the earth, opaque to x-rays.