New telescope launched this weekend from New Mexico - Tucson News Now

New telescope launched this weekend from New Mexico

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NASA will launch a new telescope designed to observe distant galaxies on a suborbital sounding rocket at 11 PM, May 10, from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

Source: NASA
FORTIS undergoes testing in the sounding rocket payload facility at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA/Berit Bland

The observations will be conducted using the FORTIS (Far-ultraviolet Off Rowland-circle Telescope for Imaging and Spectroscopy) spectro/telescope developed at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Stephan McCandliss, principal investigator for the mission, said, "The goal of FORTIS is to explore the mysteries of escaping of ultraviolet radiation from the dusty confines of galaxies, using a new type of spectro/telescope with more than six times the sensitivity of our previous experiments. FORTIS can acquire spectra from forty-three individual targets simultaneously, and autonomously, within an angular region as large as the diameter of the moon (1/2 degree)."

FORTIS flew on a Black Brant IX suborbital sounding rocket to an altitude of about 173 miles, providing approximately 360 seconds of exo-atmospheric observation time for FORTIS. The experiment landed via parachute approximately 50 miles from the launch site. The total mission time is approximately 900 seconds from launch to landing.

 

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