The exciting first light of the eROSITA telescope
On 22 October 2019, the beautiful first X-ray images of the eROSITA telescope were presented to the public at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching.
The eROSITA ‘First Light’ images were obtained in a series of exposures of all seven telescope modules with a combined integration time of about one day for both the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), our neighbouring galaxy, and the A3391/3395 system of interacting clusters of galaxies at a distance of about 800 Million lightyears.
Launched on 13 July 2019 as part of the Russian-German Spektrum-Roentgen-Gamma (SRG) space mission, which also includes the Russian ART-XC telescope, eROSITA completed its 1.5 million kilometre journey to the second Lagrange point (L2) of the Earth-Sun-system on October 21, and has now – 100 days after launch – entered its target orbit around L2. The commissioning phase of the telescope was officially completed on October 13. While the scientific performance of the system is outstanding, this first phase was not problem-free.
The development and construction of the eROSITA X-ray telescope was led by the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics with contributions from the Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University Tübingen, the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), University Observatory Hamburg, and Dr. Karl Remeis Observatory Bamberg, with the support of the German space agency DLR. The Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich and the Argelander Institute for Astronomy of the University Bonn also participated in the science preparation for eROSITA. The Russian partner Institute is the Space Research Institute IKI in Moskow; NPOL, Lavochkin Association, in Khimky, near Moskow, is responsible for the technical implementation of the whole SRG mission, which is a joint project of the Russian and German space agencies, Roscosmos and DLR.
Link to the complete press release of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics: