Sometimes, the best telescopes on Earth need a little help making their observations more meaningful. NASA announced yesterday that it had decided to fund the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE, pronounced ix-pee) mission, a polarised X-ray telescope, to help the bigger telescopes explore some of space's strangest phenomena — including the dead remains of exploded stars and galactic lighthouses called pulsars.
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Prehistoric humans may have observed the sky via primitive lens-less "telescopes", according to a team of British astronomers who have studied the long passageways of ancient megalithic tombs. The details were presented this week by Kieran Simcox, a student at Nottingham Trent University, at a meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society.
After nearly a decade of planning, construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope is finally underway. And boy, does it look cool. Perched high in the mountains of northern Chile, the GMT — whose primary optics consist of seven separate 8.4m diameter mirrors — will proudly claim the title of the largest optical scope ever built.