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Q&A: Chandra Mission

Q:
What are the telescope's mirrors made of which allows them to deflect X-rays?

A:
Iridium-coated mirrors
X-ray mirror
The requirement for X-ray reflection is that the X-rays must reflect at very shallow or grazing angles, like a stone skipping off a pond. That is why Chandra's mirrors are shaped like barrels. Two reflections off precisely shaped mirrors are required to make an image. Chandra's mirror assembly consists of four sets of two mirrors. The mirrors are coated with iridium, a gold-like metal that was found to be the best reflector of X-rays over a wide range of energies.


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