ASTRO-H successfully launched and named “Hitomi”

H-IIA F30 with the “ASTRO-H” onboard launched at 5:45 p.m. on Feb 17, 2016 (JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center. The rocket flew smoothly, and, at about 14 minutes after liftoff, “ASTRO-H” was separated from the H-IIA F30. For detail, please check JAXA press release.

ASTRO-H is the eye to study the hot and energetic universe. Therefore we name ASTRO-H, Hitomi. The word Hitomi generally means “eye”, and specifically the pupil, or entrance window of the eye – the aperture!

There is also an ancient legend that inspires the name Hitomi.

One day, many years ago, a painter was drawing four white dragons on a street. He finished drawing the dragons, but without “Hitomi”. People who looked at the painting said “why don’t you paint Hitomi, it is not complete! The painter hesitated, but people pressured him. The painter then drew Hitomi on two of the four dragons. Immediately, these dragons came to life and flew up into the sky. The two dragons without Hitomi remained still. (Put Hitomi of Dragon in the drawing).

The inspiration of this story is that Hitomi is regarded as the “One last, but most important part”, and so we wish ASTRO-H to be the essential mission to solve mysteries of the universe in X-rays. Hitomi refers to the aperture of the eye, the black part where incoming light is absorbed. From this, Hitomi reminds us of a black hole (as seen in the poster). We will observe Hitomi in the Universe using the Hitomi satellite!

Hitomi will start its life as an open observatory,
after the performance verification phase.
Hitomi and the team member will try our best.


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