Telescope that 'sees' X-rays, not light

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The Independent Online
THE FIRST working model of a new European telescope that 'sees' X-rays rather than visible light, being packed for shipment to Moscow (right), writes Tom Wilkie. Built at Leicester University, it is the first component of the pounds 16m Joint European X-ray Telescope Project (JET-X) to be shipped. JET-X will be launched from the Baikonour Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in 1995 as part of the Russian Spectrum-X satellite.

The 12ft (4m), half-ton JET-X will be the largest X-ray telescope built. The Earth's atmosphere absorbs X-rays and so such high energy radiation can be observed only by instruments in space.

Previous observations have shown that the Sun emits X-rays, and many thousands of X-ray sources have subsequently been discovered, making the sky unexpectedly 'bright' at these wavelengths.

X-ray astronomy also picks up some of the most exotic objects in the cosmos: previous telescopes have detected candidates for Black Holes. Quasars - quasi- stellar objects which emit more energy than entire galaxies - radiate intense amounts of X-rays.

(Photograph omitted)