Spektr-R space observatory to stay active until late 2018

The new program is focused on studies of inner regions of active galaxy nuclei and magnetic fields.

The new program is focused on studies of inner regions of active galaxy nuclei and magnetic fields.

GaBany / NASA
The new program is focused on studies of inner regions of galaxy

The Spektr-R (RadioAstron) space observatory will stay active until the end of 2018, Roscosmos said.

"The Spektr-R (RadioAstron) spacecraft launched on July 11, 2011, will be used until the end of 2018 on the decision of a state commission. The fourth year of the open research program of the RadioAstron international mission will kick off in July 2016; observations will be conducted under this program until June 2017," the state corporation said.

The new program is focused on studies of inner regions of active galaxy nuclei and magnetic fields, monitoring of the brightest quasars, research of water-vapor clouds in space, pulsars and interstellar matter, gravitational experimentation, etc.

The RadioAstron project is based on a ten-meter orbital radio-telescope, the unique astrophysical observatory Spektr-R which forms an integrated radio interferometer with a super-large base together with ground-based radio-telescopes. The observatory is tasked with conducting fundamental astrophysical studies in electromagnetic spectrum bands. RadioAstron has a record discrimination based on distances of up to 350,000 kilometers between telescopes.

Articles published by the project's academic teams in leading international magazines in 2016 said that RadioAstron had received images of the BL Lacertae galaxy nucleus with an extreme discrimination of 20 microseconds of arc and had traced blast waves and a spiral magnetic field in the galaxy jet.

The Russian space observatory enabled scientists to discover super-brightness of the nucleus of quasar 3C273 in the Virgo constellation (the quasar's temperature varies from 10 trillion to 40 trillion degrees, or about ten times higher than it is theoretically possible). The high resolution of RadioAstron gave researchers a chance to use quasar 3C273 to x-ray our galaxy.

"Heterogeneity, bright spots created by emissions coming through interstellar matter of the Milky Way, has been detected in the quasar's image. These and many other discoveries made thanks to RadioAstron bring us one step closer to understanding the structure of our universe," the report said.

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