NASA is inviting the public to take part in virtual activities and events ahead of the launch of the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) spacecraft, which will measure polarized X-rays from exotic cosmic objects, such as black holes and neutron stars, to better understand these types of phenomena and their extreme environments. Launch is scheduled for no earlier than 1 a.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Members of the public can register to attend the launch virtually or RSVP to the Facebook event. NASA’s virtual guest program for this launch includes curated launch resources, timely mission updates, and a virtual guest passport stamp following a successful launch.
Live coverage on Wednesday, Dec. 8, begins at 11:30 a.m. EST with the NASA EDGE: IXPE rollout show on the agency’s website. The countdown commentary and launch broadcast will begin at 12:30 a.m. EST and air on NASA Television and the agency’s website, as well as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, Daily Motion, Theta.TV and NASA’s App.
This astrophysics mission will allow astronomers to discover, for the first time, the hidden details of some of the most exotic astronomical objects in our universe. IXPE is NASA’s first mission dedicated to measuring the polarization of X-rays from a variety of cosmic sources. Polarization is a characteristic of light that carries information about where it comes from and what it passes through. The satellite’s three X-ray telescopes have sensitive detectors to measure the polarization of cosmic X-rays, allowing scientists to answer fundamental questions about the physics of these extremely complex environments where gravitational, electric, and magnetic fields are at their limits.
Members of the public can also share in the journey through a variety of activities, including:
Virtual Launch Passport
Print, fold, and get ready to fill your recently updated virtual passport. Stamps will be emailed following launches to those who register via email through Eventbrite.
Watch and Engage on Social Media
Stay connected with the mission on social media and let people know you’re following it on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with #IXPE. Follow and tag these accounts:
Additional information about the IXPE mission can be found on the mission’s website: https://www.nasa.gov/ixpe