Imagine the Universe!
Imagine Home | Featured Exhibits | Satellite Showcase |

Satellite Showcase


The Suzaku satellite
(Click for larger view.)

The Mission

Suzaku is the latest in a series of Japanese X-ray astronomy observatories that has NASA participation. It uses lightweight X-ray mirrors and three different instruments to detect X-rays from celestial objects such as black holes, supernova remnants and clusters of galaxies. It uses a revolutionary X-ray spectrometer called a microcalorimeter. This device measures the energy of an X-ray by taking its temperature. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center provided the X-ray mirrors and the X-ray microcalorimeter.

The satellite was developed at Japan's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), which is part of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). In addition, various Japanese universities collaborated with ISAS and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop an X-ray imaging detector. The Japanese also developed an instrument to detect higher energy X-rays.

While under development, the satellite was known as Astro-E2. It was successfully launched from Japan in July 2005, and renamed to Suzaku once it attained orbit. Suzaku is the Japanese term for a divine, red sparrow-like bird in Chinese legend which provides protection from evil and brings good fortune. In Japanese culture, it also became the guardian of the South.

Fully deployed in space Suzaku is 6.5 m tall and 1.85 m wide.


Science Areas that Suzaku will Study

Suzaku will study a wide array of objects. But these are among the topics of particular interest:

Publication Date: June 2005

Additional Links

starSuzaku Learning Center (

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.

DVD Table of Contents
Educator's Index