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Lab technology used on black-hole-hunter spacecraft


Narrator:       This is Science Today. When NASA's black-hole-hunter spacecraft recently detected images of 10 "supermassive" black holes, it used X-ray imaging technology that the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory had a role in developing. Lab astrophysicist Bill Craig describes the spacecraft, called NuSTAR.

Craig:             NuSTAR stands for the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array. The array comes from the fact that we're using two telescopes. The two telescopes actually are independent. They're just two of them to increase our collecting area. So, there's two telescopes at the end of a 10-meter extendable mast, which focuses on two X-ray cameras if you like. They detect both the energy and the position of the photons. That allows us to take pictures and the pictures we take will be the sharpest ever taken of the hard X-ray sky with a sensitivity hundreds of times greater than anything that's flown before.

Narrator:       Astronomers are hoping to crack the unsolved mysteries of black holes, including how many of them are populating the universe, and what is their exact role? For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.