An international team of scientists and engineers from Washington University, University of New Hampshire, Wallops Flight Facility, Goddard Space Flight Center, Brookhaven National Lab, the Hiroshima University, Osaka University, Riken, and the Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan is preparing the X-Calibur telescope for a stratospheric balloon flight launched from McMurdo (Antarctic) in December 2018. The telescope will be used to observe the X-Ray emission from a sample of black holes, neutron stars, and pulsars in our Milky Way galaxy.
X-Calibur will measure the polarization (the plane in which the electric field of the X-rays oscillates) of the high-energy X-ray emission. The polarization holds information about how and where the X-Ray emission originates. The team hopes to gain new insights into how black holes in a binary orbit with stars grow by gobbling up stellar matter. Furthermore, they will observe X-rays from neutron stars – 12-km-radius objects with masses exceeding the mass of our sun.
The X-Calibur team will provide updates on the status of the experiment and the ballooning campaign on this blog (click Flight blog at the top of this page), so we hope you will subscribe. Feedback and questions are welcome.
The X-Calibur thanks NASA and the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences for the financial support. The balloon flight from McMurdo will be supported by NASA, the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility, and the National Science Foundation.
Contact: Henric Krawczynski.