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Q&a: Hitomi Researchers Talk About Satellite's Tragic End and the Data It Sent Home

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Hitomi observatory, illustration

The Hitomi X-ray observatory sent a month's worth of data to Earth before a chain of technical failures led to its loss.

Credit: A. Ikeshita / JAXA

Although researchers are mourning the loss of Hitomi, the Japanese satellite that was meant to become the most sensitive X-ray eye in the sky, they are also excited about the legacy it left behind: one month worth of data taken and sent back to Earth before the satellite ceased communicating on March 26.

In this Q&A, three researchers from the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, explain the circumstances of Hitomi's tragic accident and express their hopes for future X-ray satellite missions.

Postdoctoral researcher Irina Zhuravleva and research associate Norbert Werner are part of a team that is analyzing data from Hitomi's Soft X-ray Spectrometer. Research associate Hirokazu Odaka is working with data from the Soft Gamma-ray Detector, which was partially developed at KIPAC.

From SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
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