Supersize me: Physicists awarded $3.3M for XL-Calibur telescope

Supersize me: Physicists awarded $3.3M for XL-Calibur telescope

Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis will develop and deploy a new telescope designed to measure the linear polarization of X-rays arriving from distant neutron stars, black holes and other exotic celestial objects. The instrument will be flown on a minimum of two scientific balloon launches as early as summer 2021. The NASA-funded effort builds on promising results from a previous balloon-borne mission known as X-Calibur and is dubbed XL-Calibur.
Spectacular outburst lets scientists peer into quasars

Spectacular outburst lets scientists peer into quasars

An outburst from a distant quasar known as PKS 1441+25 in April of this year gave astronomers at the gamma-ray telescope VERITAS an opportunity to measure the density of the optical “fog” that lies between the quasar and Earth and to deduce the surprising separation of the high-energy emission from the black hole that drives it.
High-energy observatory launches this week

High-energy observatory launches this week

On Wednesday, Aug. 19, at 8:15 a.m. St. Louis time, NASA TV will begin broadcasting the launch of a cargo container at the Tanegashima Space Center off the southern coast of Japan. In addition to water and spare parts, the cargo container will carry CALET, an astrophysical observatory designed to study the high-energy cosmos.​
Hunting for dark matter in a gold mine

Hunting for dark matter in a gold mine

An astrophysicist at Washington University in St. Louis is among the team hunting for an elusive particle called a WIMP, that may be the fundamental particle of dark matter. To catch this notoriously wily particle they have built a detector consisting of a large vat of xenon in a deep chamber of a played-out gold mine in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Aiming for the stars

Early in September, the X-Calibur mission, preparing for launch at the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Fort Sumner, N.M., put its pointing system through its paces to make sure all of its parts were working in programmed harmony.
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