Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day we feature a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

January 3, 1996
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The X-ray Timing Explorer

Explanation: Launched Saturday on a Delta rocket, the X-ray Timing Explorer (XTE) will watch the sky for rapid changes in X-rays. XTE carries three separate X-ray telescopes. The Proportional Counter Array (PCA) and the High Energy X-ray Timing Experiment (HEXTE) will provide the best timing information in the widest X-ray energy range yet available. They will observe stellar systems that contain black holes, neutron stars, and white dwarfs as well as study the X-ray properties of the centers of active galaxies. XTE's All Sky Monitor (ASM) will scan the sky every 90 minutes to find new X-ray transients and track the variability of old ones. XTE has a planned life time of two years.

Tomorrow's picture: Symbiotic Star System R Aquarii

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (GMU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA).
NASA Technical Rep.: Sherri Calvo. Specific rights apply.
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