Monday, June 18, 1962: X-rays from outer space

From the book "Atlas of Astronomical Discoveries" (Govert Schilling, 2010):

In the summer of 1962, the first source of cosmic X-rays is discovered, heralding the birth of high-energy astrophysics. ... On June 18, 1962, a Geiger counter is sent into space for the first time, on board the U.S. Air Force's Aerobee sounding rocket. The rocket flight, from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, lasts less than six minutes, with the rocket reaching a maximum height of about 130 kilometers. Yet in those few minutes the Geiger counter does register X-rays coming from the direction of the constellation Scorpius. It is already known that the Sun emits X-rays, but Scorpius X-1 is the first X-ray source outside the solar system.

Photo of Aerobee payload from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (details: @)

* NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory: @
* NASA's High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center: @
* X-Ray Group, Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge: @
* "X-Ray Vision" (Discover magazine, 2005): @
* "A midlife crisis for X-ray astronomy" (Nature magazine, June 2012): @
* Entry on X-ray astronomy from www.astronomyca.com: @
* From the book "Exploring the X-Ray Universe" (Philip A. Charles and Frederick D. Seward, 1995): @
* From the book "The Invisible Sky: Rosat and the Age of X-Ray Astronomy" (B. Aschenbach, Hermann Michael-Hahn and Joachim Truemper, 1998): @

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