From March 15 to 17, 2010, Utrecht is the center of X-ray astronomy. More than one hundred astronomers from all over the world will discuss the hottest objects in the universe. The conference is organized by SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research and Utrecht University. There will be a lot of attention for the results that were obtained with the Dutch instruments aboard XMM-Newton and Chandra in the last ten years.
The main theme of the conference is astronomy using high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy. This advanced technique enables astronomers to measure the composition, temperature and velocity of hot gas around stars, supernovae, galaxies and black holes, even at billions of light years distance. Using X-ray spectroscopy, astronomers are able to determine, for example, what happens to gas when it approaches a black hole.
With the launch of the European XMM-Newton and the American Chandra observatories ten years ago, astronomers have, for the first time, a couple of very sensitive instruments that can disperse X-rays according to their wavelengths.
SRON built such a grating spectrometer for both observatories. The conference is mainly about the results obtained with these instruments. In addition, results from the new UV spectrometer that was installed on the Hubble Space Telescope during a Space Shuttle flight last year will be presented.