XICHANG, China on Saturday, successfully launched the Space-based Multi-band Variable Object Monitor (SVOM), an astronomical satellite developed in cooperation with France, aimed at capturing gamma-ray bursts in the distant universe. The launch, facilitated by a Long March-2C rocket, took place at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province, as reported by the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

This mission marks the culmination of nearly two decades of collaborative effort between Chinese and French scientists. “We are looking forward to some important discoveries, such as the earliest gamma-ray bursts that occurred when the universe was still in its childhood, which will help us study cosmic evolution,” stated Wei Jianyan, the Chinese principal investigator of SVOM from the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ National Astronomical Observatories.

Gamma-ray bursts, brief yet powerful, are the most violent explosions in the universe since the Big Bang, occurring during the collapse of massive stars or the merging of binary compact stars. Studying these phenomena could unlock answers to fundamental scientific questions, Wei emphasized.

SVOM’s primary scientific objectives include the rapid detection and localization of various gamma-ray bursts, comprehensive analysis of their electromagnetic properties, and the study of dark energy and cosmic evolution. Additionally, the satellite aims to observe electromagnetic signals associated with gravitational waves.

“By using the gamma-ray bursts as a tool to observe the early universe, we can observe maybe the first stars. This is very interesting because this is the only way to get information about the universe at this age,” remarked Bertrand Cordier, the French principal investigator from the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission.

The satellite is equipped with four scientific instruments, equally contributed by China and France, designed to achieve a large field of view and high-precision observations. This international partnership highlights the commitment to advancing our understanding of the universe through joint scientific endeavors.

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NSN.Asia

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