China plans to send its first significant space observatory to the China Space Station, where it will begin conducting scientific research by 2024.
The Chinese Space Station Telescope (CSST), also known as the Xuntian telescope, will conduct extensive astronomical surveys from space.
The Xuntian will be close enough to Earth for maintenance, unlike NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, which recently unveiled its first scientific photographs. Lagrange Point 2, where James Webb is located, is about 1.5 million kilometers (one million miles) from Earth. CSST, on the other hand, will orbit close to China’s space station, making it very simple to maintain. It is predicted to have a mission lifetime of roughly 10 years, although this could be increased.
A better reference is the Hubble Space Telescope, the predecessor of James Webb. The Hubble Space Telescope is still orbiting the Earth more than 31 years after its launch. Still, Hubble is orbiting alone, but Xuntian flies near the China Space Station. The China Space Station itself is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.
The Xuntian Space Telescope consists of five observation devices, including a Xuntian module, a terahertz module, a multi-channel imager, an integral field spectroscope, and a coronagraph for extrasolar planet imaging.
Xuntian (short for “Survey to Heavens”) has a 2-meter opening alongside advanced detectors. According to CGTN, the bus size weighs more than 10 tons. According to reports, the Chinese Academy of Sciences Changchun Optical Research Institute (CAS) is currently developing a prototype of the Xuntian. Xuntian Space Telescope surveys about 40 percent of the sky
Most observations are performed by the Xuntian module, which is a wide-field camera. According to CGTN, the 2.5 billion pixel camera in the Xuntian module has Hubble-like resolution, but with a 300x larger field of view. After about 10 years of operation, it will be possible to investigate about 40% of the sky.
LiRan, a project scientist at the CSST Scientific Data Reduction System, used the sheep analogy to compare Xuntian and Hubble for everything. explained. The space observatory will be launched after the completion of the China Space Station. It will fly separately and at some distance from the orbital station, but it will fly in the same orbit and can be docked with the station.
Like Webb and Hubble, Xuntian is expected to shed new light on the universe and study dark matter, dark energy, and the evolutionary properties of the universe.
- The field of view of China’s Xuntian Space Telescope will be 300 times larger than that of Hubble
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