The first image from NASA's new IXPE X-ray telescope looks like a ball of purple lightning

The first image from NASA’s new IXPE X-ray telescope looks like a ball of purple lightning

The first scientific image of IXPE shows the remnant of the Armchair A supernova. (Image credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/IXPE)

NASA’s newly launched X-ray hunting probe has taken its first science picture and – wow – it’s amazing.

The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) probe launched on December 9, 2021, on a mission to monitor objects such as black holes and neutron stars in X-ray light, shedding much-anticipated light on the inner workings of the universe. The probe spent its first month in space checking out its various systems in preparation for its first images, and now the IXPE team has released its first scientific image.