LETG Update

Jeremy Drake, on behalf of the LETG Team

She lives!

Oh, the Dark Ages! That long and dismal epoch of recent history! That interminable year of gloom and despair! That time of stagnation, turmoil, and decay, when the light of our learning and knowledge flickered and was extinguished—leaving in its wake a shadowy and foreboding X-ray sky, where superstition, ignorance, and ACIS reigned supreme. But rejoice, my friends, for the shackles of darkness have been cast off, and the mind has been set free to roam and explore the mysteries of the X-ray universe once more!

The previous edition of our venerable organ related the harrowing events of when the HRC was struck once again by the cruel hand of fate, as another electronic anomaly descended like a voracious vampire upon its unsuspecting corpus. The signature of this abominable defilement was almost identical to those that had afflicted the A-side in days gone by. At precisely 13:17:32.084 UT on February 9th, 2022, the +/− 15 V voltages on the redundant B-side power supply bus collapsed, plunging to sickeningly off-nominal values of +3.36 V and −0.16 V, sending the HRC—and its sibling LETG—spiraling into darkness!

LETG observation. There is a diagonal band stretching from top left to bottom right, that is a noisy reddish orange on top of the black background filling the rest of the image. In the center is a bright source, with two bright lines radiating outward in the same orientation as the diagonal band.

Figure 1: X-rays from SN 1987a, their essence laid bare in all their dispersed sublime splendor, dramatically captured in the first LETG+HRC-S observation taken since Chandra's sight was restored to its full majesty!

The HRC would lay dormant for over a year, a helpless dead weight, crippled and choked of power and vexing the collective psyche of a world plunged into an LETG-less crisis, into a chilling Cimmerian shade. Yet, amidst this chaos and madness there were those who dared to dream of a better world, those champions of courage and vision who refused to bow down to the darkness and instead fought tirelessly to kindle the spark of hope in the hearts of humanity. The HRC and Chandra team—that dedicated band of happy kindred—were at the brink of despair, laboring day after day in the relentless search for a glimmer of X-rays, for an escape from that gloomy prison of anguish and sorrow. And though the road was long and treacherous, and the journey fraught with peril, they persevered, never losing sight of their goal: to bring the X-ray light of civilization back to a universe lost in the heart of darkness.

Weeks turned into months, and months turned into a year, and still the team toiled, consumed by the impossible challenge before them. But their indomitable spirit refused to be broken. They persisted through every obstacle, refusing to give up hope, for their resilience was soon to pay off!

And behold this day on which article 6 of our Newsletter recounts the glorious rebirth of Chandra! In the vast and unforgiving expanse of space—half blinded, but like Odin with newfound wisdom—the HRC drank from the magical font of electric power, and its eyes sprang to life once again—some say brighter and more beautiful than ever before! With a sense of awe and wonder we marvel once again at the breathtaking pulchritude of the heavenly X-ray firmament! Feast, hungry multitude, on the dazzling rainbow of X-rays from Nature’s most vigorous nuclear fulmination (Figure 1)!

Out then, murky zeitgeist of a vanquished gloom that blighted our doorstep!

Welcome to the Renaissance! This new glorious Age of Discovery and Innovation! Let our human spirits soar to new heights, and let us fill the world with a sense of wonder, possibility, and X-ray spectra! Let us look out with fresh eyes, and behold a boundless universe of infinite potential and promise. Let us forever change the course of history, and leave the LETG’s indelible mark on the cosmos! Let us rejoice in vicarious exultation as our hero is borne aloft amongst that illustrious pantheon: da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Brunelleschi, Copernicus, Galileo, Shakespeare, LETG!

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.