Astro-H Science

A cluster of galaxies in the constellation Hydra

A cluster of galaxies imaged in X-ray light by Chandra.
Central Region of M81 in X-ray

The central region of spiral galaxy M81 in X-ray light by Chandra.

Astro-H has been designed with several key science questions in mind. The questions astronomers would like Astro-H to help answer include:

  • How do structures such as galaxies and clusters of galaxies form and evolve? How do they create and disperse metals? Astro-H will measure the emission lines from galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and supernova remnants to deduce the abundances of different chemical elements along with determining other properties such as turbulence.
  • How do supermassive black holes feed back energy into galaxies and clusters? How do neutron stars and white dwarfs accrete and eject material? Astro-H will observe supermassive black holes and X-ray binary systems to look for iron emission and absorption lines. By looking at the shape of the emission or absorption line astronomers can figure out how material near the black hole is moving.
  • What is the nature of dark matter and dark energy? Astro-H will look at galaxy clusters and compare the data to models from cosmologists to find which models the data supports.

To find out more about X-ray astronomy in general and some of the specific objects that astronomers study using X-ray information, visit the main Science page.