On June 5th the 29th International Space Technology and Science Symposium was held at the Nagoya International Conference Hall. As part of this conference a technical tour was conducted which included an exhibit of the X-ray mirrors that will be flown aboard Astro-H. Three groups, each of about 10 researchers and students, took part in the tour with a staff member from the Space Astronomy Laboratory (U-lab.) of the Nagoya University Science Division providing explanations of the mirrors and their construction. The tour generated many enthusiastic questions from the tour participants.
As the “sputtering” machine — a device used in manufacturing the telescope mirrors — rumbled in the background, the staff introduced the members of the tour to various elements of the telescope system and elements in its construction. Among the objects displayed were an X-ray telescope, one of the mirrors that makes up the X-ray telescope, the “sputtering” machine and the system used to evaluate the mirror performance. The tour guide also provided explanations of the special properties of X-rays, of how X-ray telescopes operate, of how X-ray telescopes are manufactured and of how their performance is evaluated. Each tour participant also received a pamphlet describing Astro-H. The tour members were also very pleased to receive a sample cutting of an X-ray mirror, from which they could clearly see the difference between a normal optical mirror and an X-ray mirror.
Because all three tour groups had a number of foreign members, the tours were conducted in English. Members came away very impressed, witnessing the unceasing efforts of the engineers involved in building the mirrors as they quietly went about their work.
The X-ray telescope in the cleanroom. A tour participant holds a mirror, feeling its thinness and lightness.
Standing in front of the sputter maching amid its roar, a staff member explains the manufacturing process of the ASTRO-H X-ray telescope.