X-ray Astronomy Satellite "Suzaku" (ASTRO-EII) Topics

Topics List

Oct. 20, 2015 Updated
Suzaku reveals average chemical composition of our Universe on largest scales

All of the chemical elements that are heavier than carbon, the oxygen we breathe, the silicon that makes up the sand on the beach, were produced inside stars through nuclear fusion and released by stellar explosions called supernovae. By measuring the chemical composition of the Universe, scientists are trying to reconstruct the history of how, when, and where each of the chemical elements so necessary for the evolution of life were produced.

Suzaku reveals average chemical composition of our Universe on largest scales

Aug. 26, 2015 Updated
Suzaku completes its scientific observations

JAXA determined that it is difficult to resume scientific observations of the X-ray Astronomy Satellite “Suzaku”, whose communication functions have been intermittently failing since June 1, 2015, despite our efforts to restore the regular operation. The decision to complete the observations was made after carefully examining the conditions of not only communication, but also batteries and attitude control.
JAXA will perform necessary procedures to halt the Suzaku’s operation.

Suzaku completes its scientific observations

Jun. 12, 2015 Updated
Hopes to recover normal operation after Suzaku communication failure

The X-ray Astronomy Satellite “Suzaku” (ASTRO-EII) continues its operation after exceeding its target life of about two years. However, since June1, 2015, communication with the Suzaku has been intermittently cut off, so that we can confirm its operational status only when communication is established. We now assume that insufficient power is causing the discontinued communication. Thus we are doing our best to gather more accurate information of the operational status based on accumulated data through sporadic communication.
It will take some time, at least one to two months, to try to restore the normal observation operation. As a first step, we will stabilize the attitude of the Suzaku, then find a method to secure sufficient power.

Hopes to recover normal operation after Suzaku communication failure

Mar. 27, 2015 Updated
Galaxy Scale Outflow of Matter Stimulated by a Monster Black-hole

By the observations from the Japan-led Suzaku X-ray satellite adn the European Space Agency’s infrared Herschel Space Observatory, scientists have discovered the first proof that a fierce outward “wind” is produced when a huge black-hole consumes a large mass of material, and the wind is source of outflow of matter at the galaxy scale.

Detail analysis of spectral data acquired from Suzaku’s on-board CCD camera found that active galactic nucleus are blown out from near-edge of a center huge black-hole every year at equivalent of 1.5 solar mass and at about 30% of light speed. They further describe that the black-hole’s activity is responsible for blowing star-forming gas out of the galaxy’s central regions. When the black hole shines at its brightest, the researchers say, it’s also effectively clearing gas and dust from the galaxy’s central regions and shutting down star formation there. The scientists think the observed galaxy known as IRAS F11119+3257 represents an early phase in the evolution of a quasar, a type of black-hole-powered galaxy with extreme luminosity across a broad wavelength range.
This research outcome indicates that the black-hole’s activity in galactic center is a key to understand the evolution of the host galaxy.

This research outcome is published in the March 26 edition of Nature.

Galaxy Scale Outflow of Matter Stimulated by a Monster Black-hole

Jan. 10, 2014 Updated
Instantaneous heater in space

A research group led by Researcher Hiroya Yamaguchi at the NASA Goddard Space Center captured, for the first time in the world, proof of instantaneous electron heating to about 200 million degrees Celsius by shock waves of“Tycho Brahe's Supernova remnant” generated by an explosion 422 years ago.
This finding is an epoch-making achievement attained thanks to the combination of high-quality data obtained by the X-ray astronomy satellite “Suzaku” and the theoretical technique developed by the research group, who took full advantage of the latest physics. This development takes a huge step forward toward the clarification of “collisionless electron heating”, which constantly exists in space. This achievement was published in the American science magazine “The Astrophysical Journal” (Vol. 780 issued on Jan 10, 2014) as well as introduced in other media including “Astronomy.”

Instantaneous heater in space

Oct. 31, 2013 Updated
Suzaku clarifies explosive period of heavy elements for first time

Researchers from Stanford University and JAXA elucidated through the observation by the X-ray Astronomy Satellite “Suzaku” that there was a period about 10 billion years ago when heavy elements including iron were spread throughout the universe, and it was confirmed that those spread elements during that explosive period are the origin of most heavy elements currently existing in the universe.
This achievement was published in the British science magazine “Nature” on Oct. 31, 2013.

Suzaku clarifies explosive period of heavy elements for first time

Mar. 23, 2012 Updated
Japan's all-out effort to find cannibalistic "poisonous spider" neutron

A joint research group of the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Waseda University has conducted observations to elucidate the mysterious gamma-ray source “2FGLJ2339.6-0532,” which was found by the gamma-ray astronomical satellite "Fermi." For the observations, JAXA's X-ray astronomy satellite "Suzaku" and the Optical and Infrared Synergetic Telescopes for Education and Research (OISTER), a global network of telescopes, were fully utilized.
As a result, they have detected thermal components from a small region of 1.6 km in radius with a million degrees (c) in temperature. Then they clarified for the first time that the source of X-rays was neutron stars. In addition, they combined their findings with the observation results by the OISTER to find out that this celestial body is a pair of two stars rotating to construct a binary star system. They also found that the neutron star (the principal star), which is rotating at a very high speed with at a high temperature, is spewing out plasmas that heat up a companion star that is about to evaporate.
Rendering: A "poisonous spider" neutron star (left) and evaporating companion star

Mar. 25, 2011 Updated
Suzaku elucidates the outskirts of the cluster of galaxies

Thanks to the X-ray Astronomy Satellite "Suzaku," which has been observing the Perseus Galaxy Cluster and studying its size, mass and chemical contents in detail, we have acquired proof that million-degree gas clouds in a large volume are tightly gathered in the cluster's outskirts.
The proportion of normal matter (baryon) and dark matter in the cluster has been anticipated to be about the same as the typical value in space (the value provided by NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Prove.)
However, the Suzaku observed even the dark rim of nearby galaxy clusters and successfully acquired x-rays from faint gases. As a result, it solved the difference of the baryon volume for the first time. The result of this finding was published in the American magazine, Science, issued on March 25, 2011.

Jan. 17, 2011 Updated
AKARI and Suzaku confirm dust generation due to supernova burst

The Infrared Imaging Satellite "AKARI" and the X-ray Astronomy Satellite "Suzaku" have been observing remnants of a supernova commonly known as Tycho's supernova.
Through their observations, a possibility of dust generation due to the condensation of elements released from the supernova was found for first time in the world. The finding became very helpful and contains important data that can help reveal the origin of a planet and life, as there are still lots of mysteries in how dust, one of raw materials to help create a planet, is formulated and destroyed by supernova explosions.

May 7, 2010 Updated
Suzaku thesis receives PASJ English thesis award

The research achievement thesis titled “Evidence for Solar-Wind Charge-Exchange X-ray Emission from the Earth’s Magnetosheath” received the 15th Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan (PASJ) English thesis Award. The research has been carried out by a group led by Associate Professor Ryuichi Fujimoto, Astrophysics Laboratory, Institute of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Kanazawa University. Through this research, it was clarified that an unknown changing X-ray source found in the soft X-ray region in the 1990s was solar wind.

Apr. 12, 2010 Updated
Suzaku witnessed the growing scene of the largest structure in space

The research group of the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute and the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics led by researcher Madoka Kawaharada of the Cosmic Radiation Laboratory, RIKEN, (currently belonging to ISAS/JAXA) observed the galaxy cluster A1689, 2.4 billion light-years away from the Earth, using the Suzaku, and successfully captured footage showing that the A1689 was growing while reacting with the large-scale structure existing outside the galaxy cluster. This observation is expected to lead to more understanding about the dynamic growth of space through further logical analysis and comparisons with simulations.

Jan. 26, 2010 Updated
Suzaku data helps find major hard X-ray emissions around Jupiter

A group of researchers led by Assistant Professor Yuichiro Ezoe of the Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Tokyo Metropolitan University, found hard X-ray emissions spreading around Jupiter based on observation data acquired by the X-ray Astronomy Satellite "Suzaku."
Observation data from other X-ray astronomy satellites had previously identified relatively low energy X-ray (soft X-ray) emissions from the Jupiter orbit and from the orbit of Io (Jupiter I, 5.9 Jupiter radius.)
This is the first time in the world to find high energy X-rays in a broader area, more than twice as much of the Io orbit.
Drawing: The hard X-ray image around Jupiter observed by Suzaku

Dec. 14, 2009 Updated
Suzaku clarified new remnant of a supernova

RIKEN, Kyoto University and Tokyo Metropolitan University took X-ray images of the Jerry Fish Nebula of Gemini (the remnant of a supernova that exploded about 4,000 years ago) using the X-ray Astronomy Satellite "Suzaku." Through shooting this image, the researchers captured proof that the nebula was a gigantic fireball that was 10,000 times hotter than the sun just after its explosion. It was the first time in the world to capture such evidence.
(Image from a RIKEN press release)

Nov. 2, 2009 Updated
Suzaku discovered a large amount of rare metals outside the Galaxy

The X-ray Astronomy Satellite "Suzaku" observed the Perseus Cluster, which is 250 million light years away from the Earth, and detected X-rays from chromium and manganese, which are microelements. This is the first such detection in-between Galaxies. The achievement pioneers the measurement of "space element volume," and is a precious clue to study the history of element composition in space.

Jul. 15, 2009 Updated
Marking 4 years since the launch of "Suzaku"! A report on the latest achievements

"Suzaku" (ASTRO-EII) marked its 4th anniversary on July 10th, 2009, and is still observing various X-ray celestial objects, bringing us new discoveries every day.
Marking the latest achievements, five papers were published including "Highly-efficient acceleration of electrons in the TeV gamma-ray binary," "Classical novae as a new origin of cosmic-rays?" and "3D distribution of molecular clouds in the Milky Way uncovered by Suzaku."

Nov. 4, 2008 Updated
Suzaku confirmed highest-level of hot gas in space 5 billion light-years away from Earth

The "Suzaku" observed the cluster of galaxies RXJ1347, about 5 billion light-years away from Earth, and found the largest collection of high-temperature gas, of some 300 million degrees, in the cluster. This proves that galaxies collide at high speed, combine into one, and violently heat up. This observation helped us understand the process of a cluster of galaxies to a larger heavenly body.

Sep. 11, 2008 Updated
Suzaku: Rare metal generation observed for first time in space

A research group led by Researcher Toru Tamagawa of the RIKEN institute carefully observed the remnant of the supernova Tycho using our satellite "Suzaku" and found that chromium and manganese were generated there. This is the first time to identify the actual generation scene. Chromium and manganese are believed to be the most important chemical elements to learn the explosion mechanism of a star because their generation scenes are very sensitive to temperature and physical density. The finding this time suggests that a shock wave plays a role in the burning of a supernova explosion.

Apr. 17, 2008 Updated
Black Hole in the central Milky Way Galaxy awaken 300 years ago

After compiling the observation results from the Japanese X-ray Astronomy Satellites "Asuka" and "Suzaku", and NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory, and the European Astronomical Society's (EAS's) XMM-Newton X-ray Observatory, a Japanese research team concluded that the Black Hole in the central Milky Way Galaxy experienced the Big Bang approximately 300 years ago.

Jan. 17, 2008 Updated
Suzaku: White Dwarf Pulsar found

From observation data acquired by the X-ray observatory “Suzaku,” a research group led by Assistant Professor Terada of Saitama University found that high-energy X-rays emitted from the “AE Aquarii,” a binary star system consisting of a white dwarf and an ordinary star, synchronized with the rotation of the white dwarf, and the hard X-ray pulses match the spin period of 33 seconds.

Oct. 4, 2007 Updated
Witnessing shock-acceleration of cosmic rays

Combining the Suzaku and Chandra X-ray observatories, a team led by Yasunobu Uchiyama at ISAS/JAXA has found new evidence to support the long-standing conjecture that the shock front of a supernova remnant (SNR) accelerates the galactic cosmic rays.

Aug. 28, 2007 Updated
New method for probing exotic matter

Using Japanese/NASA and European X-ray satellites, astronomers have seen Einstein's predicted distortion of space-time around three neutron stars, and in doing so they have pioneered a groundbreaking technique for determining the properties of these ultradense objects.

Jul. 31, 2007 Updated
Suzaku unveiled a new type of active galaxy

An international team of astronomers using Suzaku observatory and Swift satellite has discovered a new class of active galactic nuclei (AGN).

Aug. 18, 2005 Updated
Suzaku successfully took a photo of the wreckage of a supernova, the "Small Magellan Cloud (SMC)"

The X-ray astronomy satellite Suzaku, which was launched on July 10, successfully observed and took X-ray images of the wreckage of a supernova (the signs of a star explosion) in the Small Magellan Cloud (SMC) by opening the covers of four onboard X-ray CCD cameras (XIS) during the operation between the evenings of Aug. 12 and Aug.13. Lighting streaks seen in the energy zone observed by the Suzaku are emission from nitrogen and oxygen, thus we have high expectations for new findings on the generation and evolution of these elements, which are the base of life, in space.

Jul. 29, 2005 Updated
Cryogenic world record of 60 mK (milli-Kelvin) in space set

At around 1:15 a.m. on July 27 (Japan Standard Time), we confirmed that the X-ray spectrometer, (XRS), which is installed in the Suzaku, achieved 60 mK (Kelvin is a unit of absolute temperature.) The XRS is operating normally.

The record of 60 mK, which was achieved by operating the adiabatic demagnetization cooling machine of the XRS, is a cryogenic temperature equivalent to 273.09 degrees Celsius, and the world record for the lowest artificially made temperature in space. This achievement confirms the Suzaku's high performance in X-ray observations.

The Suzaku team is working for "first light" scheduled in mid August.

Jul. 21, 2005 Updated
Operation Status of the "Suzaku"

The 23rd scientific satellite Suzaku (ASTRO-EII) is operating smoothly. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launched the Suzaku at 12:30 p.m. (Japan Standard Time, JST) on July 10, 2005, from the Uchinoura Space Center.
The operation status is as follows.

Between around 5:07 and 5:12 a.m. on July 21 (JST), the final perigee up maneuver (to increase the perigee altitude) was carried out and successfully completed. Through this maneuver, the satellite is now in a circular orbit at an altitude of approximately 570 km, which is its scheduled orbit.
After the initial operations, such as tests for onboard equipment, are carried out, observations are scheduled to start in mid August.

Jul. 10, 2005 Updated
M-V-6/ASTRO-EII successfully launched
The satellite nickname is "Suzaku"

The M-V Launch Vehicle No. 6 (M-V-6) with the 23rd scientific satellite (ASTRO-EII) onboard was successfully launched at 12:30 p.m. on July 10, 2005 (Japan Standard Time, JST) from the Uchinoura Space Center (USC). The launch vehicle flew smoothly, and it was confirmed that the satellite was injected into the scheduled orbit.

JAXA received signals from the ASTRO-EII at the Santiago tracking station and the USC, and from those signals we also verified that the ASTRO-EII had successfully separated.

The in-orbit ASTRO-EII was given a nickname of "Suzaku."

We would like to express our appreciation for the cooperation and support from all people and organizations that helped contribute to the successful launch of the M-V-6.

May 26, 2005 Updated
A final spurt before launch

The ASTRO-EII satellite is in the final phase before its launch from the Uchinoura Space Center, located in the Osumi Peninsula in east Kagoshima. The satellite left Sagamihara Campus, where it was developed, in mid May, stopped by at the Tsukuba Space Center, and is expected to arrive at the Uchinoura Space Center on May 26. The satellite team are gradually making their way to Uchinoura with the satellite to carry out launch site operations for the launch scheduled on June 26.

The ASTRO-EII is an astronomy satellite to study space X-ray sources. It will observe various celestial objects including black holes, galaxies, novas and supernovas remnant. The ASTRO-EII project is an international mission led by JAXA's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science. After its launch, the satellite will be operated as an in-orbit observatory available to various countries. The project is the result of cooperation among researchers mainly from Japanese and American universities and also from other countries. As the ASTRO-EII has the ability to elucidate radiation sources from X-rays, it is anticpated to mark various scientific achievements.

(Photo) The ASTRO-EII just before leaving Sagamihara Campus. The appearance is in a flight configuration. The satellite is equipped with five X-ray telescopes in the upper part that are protected by a white cover, and six detectors in the lower part. Solar array paddles that will be deployed in orbit are attached and fixed around the satellite. The golden sheets are insulation material to control the inside temperature of the satellite.

Jul. 30, 2004 Updated
Last test commences before launch

Astro-E2, an astronomy satellite using X-ray, is undergoing a final "integration test" for its launch scheduled for next year. Over nine months from April, the satellite is being put through the assembly process, operational verification in vacuum after the assembly, and vibration and shock tests by simulating a launch.

As of the end of July, the assembly of the satellite's main body was almost completed, and it is being prepared for the vacuum test scheduled in Aug. For all the personnel concerned, watching the assembly process of the satellite brought us great joy as well as tension.

Astro-E2 is an astronomical observatory in space for researchers all over the world. The deadline of our application of opportunity is in mid Aug. for observation themes for the first year of the satellite's operation. Proposals that contain significant scientific relevance will be selected.

Japanese researchers are aiming at elucidating high energy phenomena in space such as black holes, supernova, and cluster of galaxies, in cooperation and competition with overseas researchers.

Photo: During the Integration Test.

Under strong lights, functions of the satellite are checked using power generated by the solar panels.

Dec. 19, 2003 Updated
The first interface verification was completed.

The first interface verification of the ASTRO-EII since July 1, 2003 was successfully completed. Many researchers for this international collaborative scientific mission participated in the verification.
The researchers from domestic universities and R&D institutions, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology participated in this test to check the assembly process of a flight model and verify electric functions by sending commands.
The overall satellite system was confirmed to be acceptable, even though some minor problems were found during the verification. We continue preparation and analysis, while correcting those problems, to be ready for the final assembly and compatibility test. ASTRO-EII is scheduled to be launched in early 2005.

Photo : The lower silver part is a coolant mechanism that is a key element of the performance of ASTRO-EII. The X-ray Spectrometer (XRS) can determine X-ray energy (wave length) with high accuracy by measuring a slight temperature increase in a detector due to X-ray absorption, and it is imperative for high accuracy to maintain the detector's temperature environment to be cryogenic close to an absolute zero.
ASTRO-EII is the first science satellite to be launched into orbit with this type of detector onboard.