China will launch a large space telescope in 2023

China plans to launch its first large space telescope in late 2023. The observatory will focus on the properties of dark matter and dark energy, the formation and evolution of distant galaxies, and more. The telescope will also share Earth’s orbit with the Chinese space station and may dock there periodically for repairs or upgrades.

New observatory soon in space

For several years, China has been developing the first large-scale optical and ultraviolet space observatory, called Xuntian. The telescope will have a lens with a diameter of two meters, making it comparable to the venerable Hubble. However, although the resolution of this Chinese telescope is similar, its field of view will be about 350 times. This meant that Xuntian would be able to observe much larger expanses of the sky.

« The field of view is the area of ​​the sky that a telescope can see at any time.«, explain Lee Ran who works on the telescope. ” Hubble’s field of view is about 1% the size of a fingernail along its arm, so this observatory, although in its 30s, has only seen a small portion of the sky.«.

In addition to his camera 2.5 billion pixelsthe observatory will take with it four additional tools for mapping areas star formation In the Milky Way, discover fast-moving objects such as comets and the asteroids, study of supermassive black holes and the image of exoplanets directly. His mission should last about ten years.

Thus Xuntian will present itself as the largest astronomy space telescope in Near UV and visible until 2035.

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An artist’s depiction of the Chinese Space Station telescope scheduled for launch in late 2023. Credits: Image provided by researchers.

In tandem with the Chinese station

The telescope will work on a similar orbit To the country’s new Tiangong space station (but stay a safe distance). This will allow himSwamp in the outpost For repair, maintenance or upgrade work. China plans to complete its orbital complex by the end of this year, paving the way for the launch of the space telescope a year later.

Note that the observatory was originally designed to be installed directly on the space station. The researchers finally noticed several drawbacks, not least the problems of vibrations, potential pollution, stray light and obstruction of line of sight due to the station.

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