Credit: Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI) and the BeppoSAX Science Data Center (SDC)

Farewell, BeppoSAX

BeppoSAX was an X-ray astronomy mission launched in 1996 by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) with participation of the Netherlands Agency for Aerospace programs (NIVR). The acronym SAX stands for "Satellite per Astronomia X", italian for "X-Ray Astronomy Satellite", and the satellite was christened in honor of Giuseppe (Beppo) Occhialini, one of the fathers of X-ray astronomy. Although BeppoSAX made many contributions to the study of X-ray emission from stars, black holes, neutron stars and galaxies, its breakthrough discovery was the identification of X-ray afterglows of gamma-ray bursts. This discovery allowed astronomers for the first time to get accurate positions for some bursts which showed that these events occur in distant galaxies. The end of the BeppoSAX mission occurred on April 30, 2002, the sixth anniversary of the launch of the satellite.

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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified May 20, 2002