Imagine the Universe!

Satellite Showcase

So You Want Science? Just ASCA!

Artist's impression of ASCA in flight

Welcome to the Special Exhibit on the magnificent science results from the ASCA satellite. ASCA (Advanced Satellite for Cosmology and Astrophysics) was launched by ISAS (Institute of Space and Astronautical Sciences), Japan, on February 20th, 1993. Since then, it has presented scientists with data of extraordinary spectral resolution... resulting in scientific advances in the areas of accreting binaries, supernovae, active galactic nuclei, clusters of galaxies, and many other topics. In many ways, ASCA can be said to have opened up the true era of X-ray spectroscopy -- acting as a pathfinder for future missions such as XMM, Chandra X-ray Observatory, and Astro-E.

This exhibit highlights some of the exciting discoveries. Within the constraints of the budget and spacecraft limitations, ASCA was made into the best possible satellite for doing X-ray spectroscopy. This complements well ROSAT's ability to do X-ray imaging and RXTE's ability to do X-ray timing studies. Together, these missions are giving us unprecedented advances on all fronts in understanding the high-energy Universe.

Next, a brief tour of some of the Scientific Results:

You can find an advanced level discussion of these (and more!) results from ASCA in the ASCA Science Highlights ( pages available at the HEASARC (

Imagine the Universe is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Imagine Team
Acting Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2012.

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