Suzaku: a New Name for Astro-E2
It is an appropriate name for this mission, for several reasons.
- Suzaku is a red sparrow like bird in Chinese mythology,
which guards us from evils and gives us good fortune. This name
fits in with the tradition of Japanese X-ray astronomy satellites,
which are often named after birds.
- Japanese X-ray astronomy started with Hakucho (swan,
or constellation Cygnus, whose Chinese characters mean "white
bird"), which was a recovery mission for the failed CORSA-A.
Just as Japanese X-ray astronomy built on the success of Hakucho,
the Japanese (and the world) X-ray astronomy community hope to start
a new era with the new satellite named Suzaku ("vermilion
- In Japanese history, emperors after the Asuka era in the 7th century
built capital cities after the Chinese model. These cities were guarded
by four deities in Chinese legends. The white tiger is the guardian of
the west, the black turtle for the north, blue dragon for the east, and
the vermilion bird for the south. Suzaku, the vermilion
bird, was therefor a leading deity of the time following the
- In Chinese astrology, 28 constellations of the zodiac are governed
by the four deities mentioned above. The vermilion bird, Suzaku,
governs the southern part. The Virgo cluster of galaxies, one of the
most important target of the new mission, is located in the part of
sky governed by Suzaku.
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