Saturday, June 22, 2024

Chinese-French Astronomical Satellite Launched:
Gamma-Ray Bursts, Dark Energy, Cosmic Evolution

(西昌综合讯)中国和法国联合研制的空间科学卫星成功发射,该卫星将探测经过数十亿光年才到达地球的伽马射线暴,有助人们更好地了解宇宙。这也是中法两国具有里程碑意义的合作。 [阅读全文]

[Xichang Comprehensive News] The successful launch of a space science satellite jointly developed by China and France will detect gamma-ray bursts that take billions of light-years to reach Earth, helping people better understand the universe. This is also a landmark cooperation between the two countries.

Comprehensively China CCTV News, AFP and the South China Morning Post reported that the Long March II C carrier rocket of the China-French Astronomical Satellite (SVOM) was launched Saturday afternoon at China's Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

The SVOM weighs 930 kg and is equipped with four advanced instruments, two made in France and two from China.

SVOM is the world’s most powerful satellite to date for multiband integrated observations of gamma-ray bursts. It will detect and quickly locate various types of gamma-ray bursts through advanced instrumentation, and comprehensively measure their electromagnetic radiation properties.

Gamma-ray bursts, produced during extremely energetic events in the distant Universe, provide unique information about major cosmic phenomena, but are difficult to capture and easily absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere.

According to Francois Gonzalez, project manager at the French National Centre for Space Research, the SVOM can make observations at different wavelengths and obtain “the most complete dataset” showing how explosions occur and evolve over time.

Ore Gottlieb, an astrophysicist at the Center for Astrophysics at the Iron Institute in New York, believes SVOM has the potential to unravel several mysteries in the field of gamma-ray bursts, including detecting the most distant gamma-ray bursts in the universe.

Frederic Daigne, an astrophysicist at the Paris Institute of Astrophysics, pointed out that gamma-ray bursts could give people a better understanding of the death of certain stars. Analyzing this data could help us better understand the composition of space, gas clouds, or the dynamics of other galaxies.

This level of space cooperation between China and Western powers is rare, especially after the United States banned all cooperation between its space agency and China in 2011. However, space cooperation has been the focus of Sino-French scientific cooperation. In 2018, the two countries jointly launched a marine satellite primarily for marine weather. This year, Chang’e-6 also landed on the far side of the moon with a French radon detector.

[联合早报, Singapore on June 22]

Annoucement by CCTV 13 of the projected launch of a jointly developed Chinese-French satellite for the research of spontaneous gamma ray outbursts in the universe related to the death of stars. The launch has been successfully achieved today, 22 June 2024, as reported in the article above. [CCTV 13, Beijing on January 28]

The French-Chinese space mission SVOM is dedicated to locating and studying the most distant explosions of stars, gamma-ray bursts. These cataclysms, which are signalled by a brief flash of gamma rays, the most energetic form of light, accompany the disintegration of the largest stars. Visible to the far reaches of the Universe, these explosions offer the only way to observe the fate of the very first stars in the Universe and to probe the far reaches of the cosmos. Seeing a star explode is a rare event. And yet the first traces of observation are ancient and begin in China, more than a millennium ago. Discover the history of these first observations. An exciting dive into the beginnings of the Universe.
[CEA - The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, or CEA, is a French public government-funded research organisation in the areas of energy, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies.]


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