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Suzaku (Astro-E2)

Suzaku (Astro-E2) mission graphic

Suzaku (formerly Astro-E2)

Phase: Operating

Launch Date: July 10, 2005

Mission Project Home Page - http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/astroe/astroegof.html

Program(s):Astrophysics Explorers, Explorers, Missions of Opportunity

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Suzaku, formerly known as Astro-E2 or NeXT, is Japan's fifth X-ray astronomy mission, and was developed at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (ISAS/JAXA) in collaboration with U.S. (NASA/GSFC, MIT) and Japanese institutions. Suzaku covers the energy range 0.2 - 600 keV with the two instruments, X-ray CCDs (X-ray Imaging Spectrometer; XIS), and the hard X-ray detector (HXD). Suzaku also carries a third instrument, an X-ray micro-calorimeter (X-ray Spectrometer; XRS), but the XRS lost all its cryogen before routine scientific observations could begin.

The U.S. Suzaku Guest Observer Facility (GOF) is located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The GOF is part of the Office of General Investigator Programs (OGIP) in the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD).

Suzaku observations of 23 supernova remnants, including those shown here, reveal a distinction between those from massive stars and those from white dwarfs. The peak X-ray energy from the so-called K-alpha emission line of ionized iron serves as a fingerprint to quickly ID the explosion source.


Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

The primary responsibility of the U.S. Suzaku GOF is to enable U.S. astronomers to make the best use of the Suzaku mission. To fulfill this responsibility, the Suzaku GOF staff performs such activities as supporting the U.S. side of the Suzaku proposal selection process, distributing usable data to U.S. Guest Observers, helping Guest Observers to analyze their data, and creating the mission archive.

In addition to the tasks listed above, the U.S. Suzaku GOF activities include the development of software, the compilation and production of documentation for that software, and the provision of expert help. All of the U.S. Suzaku GOF's activities involve close collaboration with the Japanese Suzaku team.

The original Astro-E was launched February 10, 2000, but there was a problem with the first stage of the Japanese rocket, and the satellite was declared unusable.

Science Highlights

Suzaku has:

  • Helped astronomers study the elemental composition of a star from supernova debris.
  • Provided an estimate that there have been approximately several hundred million "Type II" supernova explosions in the Milky Way galaxy since its birth.
  • Measured the rate of a black hole's spin and found evidence for how a black hole bends light.
  • Using Suzaku data scientists determined there was a period about 10 billion years ago when heavy elements, including iron, were spread throughout the universe.

Last Updated: April 1, 2015

Related Links
  • JAXA Suzaku Website - http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/suzaku/index.shtml
  • More about Suzaku - http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/astro-e2/main/index.html