Technology

Building a telescope to capture X-rays poses some challenges – for one thing, X-rays tend to pass through typical mirrors! Despite the challenges, some of the technology for detecting X-rays may be familiar, such as CCD detectors like those used in digital cameras. Other X-ray technology, though, may seem a bit more exotic, like the calorimeters that detect X-rays by the tiny temperature increase they cause in the detector pixels.

Use the links below to find information about the technology used to do X-ray astronomy. To find out more about X-ray astronomy and the objects that astronomers study in X-ray, visit our Science page.

X-ray telescope design
If X-rays pass through typical telescope mirrors, how do engineers design X-ray telescopes? This section includes information on how we focus X-rays onto a detector, what X-ray telescopes look like, and how the mirrors are manufactured.
Detecting X-rays
What technologies have engineers developed to detect X-rays? This section includes information on CCD detectors, microcalorimeter detectors, and earlier designs such as proportional counters and solid state detectors.