Talk:X-ray astronomy

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for X-ray astronomy:
  • explain X-ray optics (modulation collimator, grazing incidence mirror)
I made some effort in X-ray optics. Maybe others could expand further. Astronaut (talk) 15:37, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

Swift & broken link[edit]

Fixed a broken link, added Swift and Swift XRT link Rob 05:19, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Broken link[edit]

When I clicked on the link about HIREGS (http://sprg.ssl.berkeley.edu/balloon/) it was broken. I navigated to the front page of the website and found the link to it and it was gone. Therefore I have made the link link to an archived version of a page. It can be found here. Hope I helped! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by The Psychless (talkcontribs) 22:39, 25 April 2007 (UTC).

x-ray telescope technology[edit]

"x-ray telescope" redirects here but there was no information on the design of x-ray telescopes to show what angular resolution or imaging capabilities they have or can have. I've linked to a few docs until someone can do a proper job. Rod57 (talk) 00:06, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

New material & organization[edit]

A great deal of useful information has been added in the past day or two by Marshallsumter (talk), for which I am very grateful and pleased. Some of it raises questions in my mind, however, about organization—the enumeration of missions, experiments, and instruments, versus exposition of astronomy issues. I have tried to add some information about missions I have been particularly familiar with, such as OSO 7, HEAO 1 (A4), HEAO 3 (C1), and CGRO. The articles on the Orbiting Solar Observatory series is particularly sparse, as each one deserves its own short article, plus an article about the overall NASA OSO program. The articles I have worked on are unbalanced in that instruments and spacecraft I know little about are woefully shortchanged. Some of the new material here by Marshallsumter could be used to start stubs for the other OSO's and fill in instrumental detail. Another issue is that the key science results of individual instruments have been shortchanged in the mission and instrument discussions, and it seems to me that that kind of material ought to find a place here, as well as be mentioned under the hardware, missions, and techniques articles. I guess I think the amount of material potentially involved is so large that many editors must necessarily be involved, adding material they know about (and can reference, I hope, of course) and then when enough material has been collected to approach something comprehensive, we are likely to want to undertake a really large-scale re-organization of the whole subject, into articles covering missions, articles on specific objects (eg, the Crab Nebula and Cygnus X-1), articles on experiments and instruments, articles on instrumental techiques, and finally and article trying to tie what all these different strands have taught us about astronomy and the universe, the sort of thing and senior college student thinking of specializing in the subject might find useful. This will take a while I think! But a worthy goal nonetheless, and something only Wikipedia can possibly attempt. Wwheaton (talk) 04:05, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

I have incorporated Marshallsumter's material on OSO 3 into a separate article for that mission. It still lacks anything about the solar instruments, unfortunately. It also needs a reference to Dan Schwarz's thesis on the cosmic X-ray background, which I will try to add asap, as I have a copy somewhere. Wwheaton (talk)

I agree with pretty much every subject Wwheaton has touched on. I have the same goals. My next contribution probably will deal with the various catalogs of X-ray objects and possibly the individual contributions by each effort though that will be Herculean to accomplish right away. I also agree regarding making this subject attractive enough that advanced undergrads will think about a career in X-ray astronomy or related area. I have no objections to parsing out info to various connected articles. Marshallsumter (talk) 02:08, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Great. Let's proceed along this path as fast as we are able (I can only devote a little time now and then) and hope to attract other editors over time. Then the organizational issues and how best to deal with them should become more obvious as material accumulates. Wwheaton (talk) 06:29, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Organization[edit]

I've been thinking about re-organizing the material for this article into more of a newspaper style as follows:

  1. Astronomical sources of X-rays
  2. Exotic X-ray sources
  3. X-ray dark stars
  4. Single X-ray stars
  5. Major questions in X-ray astronomy
  6. Theoretical X-ray astronomy
  7. X-ray observation
  8. X-ray telescopes/mirrors
  9. X-ray detectors
  10. Stellar X-ray astronomy
  11. Analytical X-ray astronomy
  12. Explorational X-ray astronomy
  13. Forthcoming X-ray observatory satellites
  14. History of X-ray astronomy
  15. Amateur X-ray astronomy

While I have reasons for each in this order, I'd like some feedback before actually re-arranging everything. Marshallsumter (talk) 16:19, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

I find myself wondering if there should be something on the physics of X-ray interactions with matter, both emission and absorption. But then I think it's getting awfully long for Wikipedia's preferences. I wonder if it could be split up into a smaller number of major sections, each with a lead-style summary, and a link out to a separate article on the section topic? It really is a huge field.... Wwheaton (talk) 02:58, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

I tend to agree. I've already prepared a section on "X-ray generation" but haven't included it precisely because of article length considerations. To handle this in a limited way, I've been expanding some shorter stubs and articles such as Super soft X-ray source and creating articles such as Stellar surface fusion. I'd also really like to have an article dedicated to "X-ray telescopes", including the optics for both glancing angle and the multilayer films used in direct incidence. Detectors might also deserve their own smaller article. Ironically, when I was looking at the Feature Articles produced in Astronomy, I found that no science article (e.g. Astronomy) has ever been a Feature Article. This is disconcerting. Is it that a science article never has the appropriate pizzazz? Or that wonderment is only attached to the startling and unexpected. Marshallsumter (talk) 08:00, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Modulation collimator[edit]

We've gone back and forth on how to link this. The term "modulation collimator" has a significance far beyond its constituents, which I think should be linked in a proper article on the subject. There is a rich history here, starting with the identification of Sco X-1 (which, incidentally, was neither at the Galactic Center nor very closely related to what Giacconi got the Nobel Prize for, as earlier versions suggested). It seems that people who understand RMCs, URAs, and the like, are not paying enough attention to the Wikipedia!

This article is (a) too big, and (b) too undiscriminating in its overview. I haven't had time to go through it in detail but noticed many things that need to get improved. One of these things near the top was "modulation collimator" so I suggest that Marshallsumter accept my improvement there. Another thing I noticed was NiXT - if one is going to mention that, one needs to mention Art Walker's work, which basically came first.

--Hugh Hudson (talk) 21:34, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Hugh, I've moved your remarks to the end of the page. (Ordinarily we don't mess with other editor's comments, but this is an exception to that tradition.) Bill Wwheaton (talk) 23:02, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Suggesting an article split.[edit]

It has been pointed out that this article has become exceedingly long; much longer than is recommended by WP:LENGTH. To quote that page, "Readers may tire of reading a page much longer than about 30 to 50 KB, which roughly corresponds to 6,000 to 10,000 words of readable prose." I suggest splitting out the longer (and sufficiently notable) sections of this article into sub-articles, while still describing them here using WP:SS. Thank you for your consideration.—RJH (talk) 18:24, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

Hi RJH, Thanks for your input on this article. Hugh Hudson (talk) has raised similar concerns. Marshallsumter has proposed an organization above, and it does seem to me the first step would be to try to start building a reasonable set of major sub-sections, and then sub-sub sections, with the idea that each section would become an article in its own right eventually, with a paragraph in the root roughly equivalent to the lead introduction in the section-level articles. I think the number of major sections should be smaller than the list he has proposed, but this needs to be talked over here. Anyhow, here is my first thought, a proposal if you will:
  1. Astrophysics (of X-ray astronomy): What X-rays are, physics of their interactions with matter, what general kinds of objects emit them, what we have learned about the universe from X-ray observations.
  2. Objects: Specifics of types of X-ray objects, general nature and issues about each, etc. Also links to articles on particular objects of special note.
  3. Technology: Different types of detectors, optics, data analysis, etc.
  4. History: Programs (ESA, NASA,... etc.), missions (grouped under programs, I guess), spacecraft, ....
I propose that each major section have a link out to a dedicated article on the topic, with a short summary in this article, probably closely related (nearly identical ?) to the article lead paragraphs in the expanded, dedicated article. Needless to say, these dedicated articles can have a similar structure, of sections with links out to subsection articles, etc ad infinitum.
One thing I'm not sure how to plug into this tree is "objects". This has one foot in general astrophysics, but one foot in lists of particular stars, galaxies, the Sun, etc. There is also a question as to how to link it up to the whole subject of Space physics, a big area in its own right, with some overlap here.
It would probably be a good idea to have a look at the organizations of the many books that have been written on X-ray astronomy, to get a feel for what seems to work best, and a heads-up about what we have left out that needs consideration.
Cheers, Wwheaton (talk) 23:17, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
For objects, an astronomical X-ray source article could be built, it'd be the counterpart to the astronomical radio source article. 76.66.197.2 (talk) 05:58, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
... History of X-ray astronomy and X-ray astronomy space missions, X-ray astronomy engineering and technology - could also be built (or separate Technology of X-ray astronomy and X-ray astronomy engineering). 76.66.197.2 (talk) 05:44, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

I have split off several articles from this one already: Stellar X-ray astronomy, Solar X-ray astronomy, X-ray telescope, Stellar surface fusion, X-1 X-ray Source, Sounding rocket X-ray astronomy, X-rays from Eridanus and have added material to Super soft X-ray source, e.g. I like the idea of an article Astronomical X-ray source since we have so many different types. And, agree with making each major section its own as well. If there are no major objections, I'll go ahead and split off a few more sections and see what happens. Marshallsumter (talk) 07:41, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Thank you!—RJH (talk) 22:02, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

I just performed an edit to see the article size. It's still big at 106 kb, even after spawning 10 split-offs! Yikes! Although 106 kb is the same size as the Sun Feature Article - which itself has a suggestion on its discussion page to have it split up. Marshallsumter (talk) 19:47, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

There's always creating an Outline of X-ray astronomy per WP:OOK and Timeline of X-ray astronomy per WP:TIMELINE to help clear up the various articles. 76.66.197.2 (talk) 13:19, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Quality standard cleanup[edit]

From looking through the list of Wikipedia Feature Articles, I was struck by two facts: (1) the only article about a science to be a FA is Cryptography and (2) Warfare has more FAs than any other area. Splitting off some more sections and including let's say the best from each section in X-ray astronomy with a flowing connectivity of prose will help readability but I've always been fuzzy on the "quality" thing once good grammar has been achieved and readability reached. So, unless there are some major objections I believe we have improved the article quite a bit and of course there's always room for more, I'm going to remove the Cleanup box. Marshallsumter (talk) 20:03, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

If you ask for a WP:GAN, independent reviewers will tell you the various problems with the article. 76.66.197.2 (talk) 13:23, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

"Featurette"s[edit]

The Featurette section is not typical of Wikipedia articles, but this and other X-ray astronomy articles have them. Rather, they appear to be more like what is found on Portals. I suggest that these sections be transferred to a Portal:X-ray astronomy

76.66.197.2 (talk) 06:01, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

Personally, I think these featurettes are an interesting idea. If these are not specifically discouraged in the guidelines, and no consensus develops to have them moved, I don't see the problem. imho. Steve Quinn (formerly Ti-30X) (talk) 11:38, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
What is a "Featurette"? The one here begins "GOES 14 was launched into orbit on June 27, 2009 at 22:51 GMT from Space Launch Complex 37B at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station". which seems to me a peculiar way to begin a major article on the broad subject of X-ray astronomy. Can Marshallsumter or someone help me out with a definition of what a featurette should and should not contain, and really what the concept means? It seems important, because I think the naive reader (eg, me) may be puzzled in the absence of a Wikipedia tradition about it. Wwheaton (talk) 19:21, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia has a nice description of Featurette and its various meanings over time. What I had in mind with the experiment was a featurette that show-cased a most recent event in the particular subject, such as GOES 14 launched this year with an X-ray imaging telescope on board to observe the Sun. It's the most recent satellite launched with an aspect of X-ray astronomy in mind yet in its case with a practical need. I like the newer one as well. It showcases some new with some neat items and some unusual ones from the history of X-ray astronomy. It's a bonus that lets the reader know the content of the article is fairly up-to-date and subject-encompassing. I believe it should have good images, short but relevant text and at least some recentness. Comments, questions, criticisms are most welcome? Marshallsumter (talk) 22:44, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Hmmm, I guess I think it's a little confusing in a Wikipedia article, especially as the first section. It might work better as a sidebar or special box, like an info box or the front-page DYK items? And maybe entitled "Recent news" or something of that kind, as "Featurette" seems unfamiliar in our context? Thanks for the explanation, tho. Bill Wwheaton (talk) 03:03, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
First, I will say that I didn't know that the featurette is the most up to date of the happenings in X-ray astronomy, or a given section but, I understood what it is. I noticed these featurettes "feature" an interesting item related to the given article or section. This I think is a good idea.
However, Bill Wheaton may have a point. What if it is confusing to a number of others who are used to the traditional format of Wikipedia articles? I note that the inclusion of the featurette does not stray far from tradition, because the rest of the article follows the traditional format. However, I cannot say how many others would realize what a "featurette" is right away. Apparently, from the feedback here, some would realize and some would not. So, I think an excellent solution has been offered. It might work better as a sidebar or special box. DYK has an infobox on the front page - and that is a good example, too. I am just offering my two cents...

Featurettes highlighting something happening in a topic is more like what is found in a book, rather than in an encyclopedia entry, and DYK, and current happenings are what portals are for. The Main Page is a portal. 76.66.197.2 (talk) 05:53, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

Propose an index table for X-ray source organization[edit]

I think the organization of the material regarding individual sources needs more thought. We now have an article entitled "X-rays from Eridanus", and another "X-1 X-ray source", which seem like poor choices to me. I object to articles with these scopes (sources in Eridanus, sources whose names begin with "X-1") because (in my opinion) constellations and outmoded designations are not sufficiently astrophysically notable to serve as organizing principles. I would much prefer a big table of X-ray sources, with some minimal information in the columns of the table: say, name or identification, position, few-character type code, peak or average intensity, discovery date, constellation if you like, and a wikilink in the first column to a dedicated article if one exists (meaning there is enough reliable information to support one), etc. Right now such a table would have a few thousand entries, and a fair fraction of the sources could have their own articles. We should realize that as instruments (and sky coverage) improve, the number of known sources is destined to explode. This is happening now for asteroids, and happened long ago for stars. Do we really want to start articles that are inevitably doomed (for the Eridanus case) to eventually have 3,000 unrelated sections for a heterogeneous collection of objects, many of which also merit separate, redundant, articles? I have similar feelings about the "X-1" source article, only even more so (why not X-2? and X-3?....)

A similar issue has come up for asteroids, where I hope we will have consensus soon. The asteroidal situation is simpler because we organize it by discovery number, as assigned by the Minor Planet Center, and those numbers are permanent so each object stays put in the table. For X-ray sources the organization in the table is more complex, and it seems like the best we can do is source position (J2000 will have to serve for the next 20 years I guess) by RA and Dec, and even that does not give a unique numerical rank & position in the table as new, fainter sources are discovered. Also, numbered asteroids are "forever" (like Love & herpes...), and therefor inherently notable, but X-ray sources are often transient and (only a few nowadays) sometimes mistaken altogether, so each entry in the table will have to have at least one link to a reference establishing its authority as notable. (A possible alternative would be the system the astronomical community has long used for stars and other fixed objects, of having many separate catalogs produced by different projects. For Wikipedia a table of external source catalogs might be a way to go.)

Anyhow, this brings up a whole can of worms needing more discussion with more voices and more brains. The actual contents of the table I think should be a separate issue from the principal of having such a master table, linking to separate source articles as appropriate. After others have time to weigh in, I envisage a formal proposal for such a scheme, and if that is accepted, would then open a new discussion on the details of the organization of the table itself. Wwheaton (talk) 19:06, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

I think the "X-1" issue can be resolved by focusing on the X-# naming method, and expanding the article to cover all X-# sources. There would be no arbitrary cutoff since sources in different constellations were discovered at different times, with multiple sources in one, before a single source in another. 76.66.197.2 (talk) 06:10, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

This is a tough one! May I suggest checking out the History of astronomy for guidelines. Or, as I prefer the History of visual astronomy. We are facing a similar problem with X-ray astronomy. I've put some comments on the discussion pages for X-rays from Eridanus and X-1 X-ray source that may help. What I had in mind was multiple locations that individual objects can be presented even if they do not as yet have at least a stub, or the article, like Epsilon Eridani, may be getting too long - yet doesn't even mention X-rays. Duplication should be kept to a minimum - my apologies on that. As the X-ray spectrum covers 6x the visual at least and it is very likely almost every visual source will also be an X-ray source but not every X-ray source will have a visual counterpart, the ultimate number of X-ray sources could be 6x the visuals for our galaxy alone. There are some additional concerns. Most of our astrophysics, astrochemistry and the like have there basis in visual astronomy. As X-ray and gamma-ray astronomy expand, we may find the universe is far stranger than we thought which means that we need flexibility in article topics and style. Well, I guess I've tossed in enough confusion for now - but I hope these comments help. Marshallsumter (talk) 23:24, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

History of visual astronomy should not begin before astronomy starts in other spectrums other than the visual spectrum. So most of it should remain at History of astronomy since no other types of astronomy (aside from astrology, cartography, theoretical and astrophysics) occur before the advent of non-visual sensors (IIRC, it starts with the beginning of radio astronomy). 76.66.197.2 (talk) 06:22, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, almost all stars with convective envelopes (which is most stars I believe) will have some magnetically driven flaring activity, and thus be X-ray sources at some level (though often very low). Multiple star systems with strong colliding winds may produce X rays from the collision shocks. If we don't want to have a table including all stars (? around 500,000,000 now cataloged I think, with many many more coming soon) then there has to be some criterion for cutting off, perhaps that the X-ray emission dominate the total luminosity, or be some reasonable fraction thereof. (It seems crazy to even try to have all stars in a table in Wikipedia, not this century at least.) It is conceivable for asteroids mainly because there is the pre-existing unique numbering system, with complete tables available from MPC and JPL, which can be expanded with links, etc. At the moment there are about 100,000 numbered asteroids, and possibly another 100,000 coming in a year or two from WISE. Big numbers, but not billions and billions.... The virtue of the table approach is to provide a root of basic information, one line per object, avoiding the temptation to create thousands of marginally-notable stub articles, and yet provides a natural place for information on the better-studied objects to grow with time, into the wikilinked articles. Wwheaton (talk) 01:39, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I haven't yet got around to creating the draft list/table for List of X-ray sources in Eridanus as I briefly mentioned in Talk:X-rays from Eridanus#Poor article?; though this new discussion has now caused me to reconsider for the moment.
"List of ..." articles are a well established feature of Wikipedia, and I would be in favour of a List of X-ray sources article. However, I suspect such an article would be too large to be read comfortably, even with a "few thousand" entries. Splitting by some means will be inevitable. It could be split by type (SNR, flare star, etc), luminosity, or some other property, but I see no strong reason for the split not being by constellation. That said, it is quite odd to have just a list for Eridanus.
A couple of other things: I am in favour of restricting the list to notable sources - either those with an existing Wikipedia article, an associated visual object, or are scientifically important (eg. the Orion-Eridanus Bubble); and extra details for each source should be in that source's article rather than padding out a list to even more unmanageable size (if an individual source's article itself gets too large, then that could be split if really thought necessary, eg: X-ray features of Epsilon Eridanus and so on). Astronaut (talk) 15:35, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
I think the notability issue for entries in the table can be postponed. In principle, any externally verifiable celestial object probably satisfies Wiki's minimum notability requirements (unless a consensus of editors decides it does not), but I think it would definitely make sense (as we lack the unambiguous designation number system that exists for asteroids) to put things in so the most interesting ones get done first, roughly in importance order (but the place in the table cannot depend on that, as it is too ambiguous and too subjective). I agree one table will definitely be too large pretty quick, so the top level needs to be an index to sub-tables, as is widely used (eg, alphabetically) in Wikipedia already.
The problem I am struggling with right now is how to index them. The "lists of stars" article has some things that have been done for stars. The system needs to be unambiguous (so someone looking for a particular object can find it), not too redundant (so we don't have maintenance problems, getting contradictory information about one source scattered in different places, and so all the information we have for each object is easily findable), and it needs to be easily extensible. Also, it needs to be straightforward to use (so anyone can find what they want), not to be in conflict with established professional naming systems, and not re-inventing the wheel by instituting some completely new scheme without real need. I think constellations fail because nobody knows the constellation membership of most X-ray sources. (And not everybody cares. I am embarrassed to admit that some professionals do not even know the visual sky by night; I even know a few who are proud of their ignorance....) As the number of objects increases, the proportion with a priori constellation memberships is going to drop to a small fraction, and to determine the constellation of a given random object is not quite trivial (I think you have to go back to B1950 co-ords to do it correctly). Anyhow, imho having 88 tables (one for each constellation) is not the best choice. Another thing to keep in mind is the marvelous SIMBAD resource for cross-indexing, and also NED), which together give all the common names for almost any object or any position on the sky, and vice versa. We should not forget the help those provide.
All things considered, at the moment I am leaning towards favoring an indexing system (ie, to determine an unambiguous ordering of objects in the table) based on position (? J2000 I guess [RA or longitude first, then Dec, or latitude], or conceivably galactic?), with the most common name(s?) in a second column. If you have only an uncommon name, SIMBAD will probably give you the position, and if you have a position, the table will give you a common name or two, and SIMBAD will give you lots more names if any exist. A wikilink on the lead column or columns gets you to the main article, with all the info we have. (If there are a bunch of really common names in use, we can have redirects to the main article for that object.) Major types of sources can be encoded in a few characters in a column or two, but if we want a list of just some type (eg, LMXBs, say) we can easily make that simply by copying a subset of the complete table, possibly with extra columns as may be important for the type in question. Anyway, improvements or alternate ideas are eagerly solicited; it's important to get this right now I think. Wwheaton (talk) 21:36, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
I think a set of tables is a good idea and in order for this area of astronomy. And, it appears to be a huge undertaking. I agree with the idea for an indexing system. It is needed. The longitude suggestion sounds good and I am sure any type of coordinate system would be a good way to organize. I think starting with the most interesting x-ray sources would be the best start - and alphabetize. I really like that idea. Hopefully this will be helpful:
I just came across a press release Publication of the first catalogue of X-ray sources detected by the European satellite XMM-Newton. Hopefully, this could offer some ideas on how to develop the table. Steve Quinn (formerly Ti-30X) (talk) 23:58, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
I have an idea for formatting the master table. The master table could be started with listing by the missions which has discovered or monitored X-ray sources. For example two of these missions are NGC 2808 Chandra X-Ray Point Source (Catalog), (ESA’s) XMM-Newton satellite ( catalogue of X-ray-emitting cosmic sources). There are other missions like NASA's Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission. Projects like "GOES 14" , I am guessing will have data available in the near future because it is a brand new mission. Beginning with the missions themselves may work as an overaraching organizing principle. For instance, the master table may list only missions, and each of these will probably have unique data available. Determining the data or information to start with would be the next step. But, we are interested in only the master table at this time. This would be one way to go. Steve Quinn (formerly Ti-30X) (talk) 04:25, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
An alternate idea would be to start with the launching bases for the master table. For example, Goddard Space center, ESA launching bases, etc., etc, The important missions (alluded to above) could be listed next to the launching bases, because some bases have several ongoing missions (I suppose). The idea is to start with what the general reader might be familiar with such as the names of bases, countries, or continents (like "European" Space Agency). Steve Quinn (formerly Ti-30X) (talk) 04:33, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
I think we should refrain from creating a wholly new naming system (ie, something we would apply to all objects—new objects in particular, or old ones retroactively) that is not already in wide use and familiar to the community. The system of catalog IDs, combined with co-ordinates, like "ABCD xxx.xxxx+yy.yyyy", where ABCD stands for a unique catalog, and xxx.xxxx & yy.yyyy are co-ordinates, is becoming widely accepted as standard for names. The IAU even has a catalog name registry to insure that new catalog names do not duplicate old ones. But here we do need a unique indexing system (as distinct from common names) if we want to create a single list, and it needs to be generally applicable and unambiguous, so every object gets a clear place in the table with respect to every other. So far some index system based on co-ordinates (used with SIMBAD or NED to connect to names) is the only thing I can think of that works. (For an example of SIMBAD's use, go to the Wiki SIMBAD page which links to the SIMBAD site here, and enter a co-ordinate search with, say, "05 34 31.95 +22 00 52.1" as the [FK5] position, changing the search radius to 1 arc sec to get a single source. You will see lots of names for this object....) Wwheaton (talk) 16:29, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
Bill Wheaton, you and I are almost on the same page. I was thinking the same thing - that an index or table of objects should use naming systems already in use (a system of catalog IDs, combined with co-ordinates, like "ABCD xxx.xxxx+yy.yyyy") . I didn't think of this as the master table or master index - yet it makes sense that it should be. So, I agree with you. Apparently I am describing something else to begin with. I was thinking of an article page that is a list, or more like a table. The list can have entries for the countries that are engaged in X-ray astronomy. Next to that is perhaps the mission or work they are involved. If a country named "A" has launched a couple satelites as X-ray observatories then those would be entered in the next column. For example, "A" has launched ficticious X-ray satelites "S-one" and "S-two", which are now probing the mystery of X-ray sources in space. A link can then be provided to a master table of data from "S-one" and another link can be provided to a another master table of data from "S-two". On these master tables each object can be identified by catalogs that are in wide use, "ABCD xxx.xxxx+yy.yyyy". Something along those lines. On the other hand, it might best to just create catalog type master tables. Steve Quinn (formerly Ti-30X) (talk) 23:07, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
Your idea seems useful, just not what I was groping for when I started this section. I had been thinking of better ways to organize Marshallsumter's large labors on X-Ray astronomy, above at Suggesting an article split. Only I got stuck with how to deal with the plethora of ideosyncratic particular source articles, which led me to the thought of an index table, in principle for all sources (but definitely not in practice!) that would have wikilinks to all our articles with some minimal basic info for each entry, and some unambiguous indexing scheme, so it would be straightforward to tell if a given object was present or not, without having to try all the myriad possible names. Your country and/or mission table (or list article) would fill a complementary need, and could have information that would not fit easily into the inclusive X-ray source index table, like missions, launchers, etc. I certainly want the index table to link to any dedicated article about every object in it that actually has an article, and think that each article should link back to the master index table somehow, so it works both ways. Then an article about a particular class of sources (black hole candidates, say) can include links to the dedicated articles for each source it wants to include, or have a sub-table of its own if there are very many.
I think we should wait for comment from other editors before being too bold here, let's give it a week or two anyhow, while thinking about implementation details. Marshallsumter et al., what do you think about all this? I guess it implies a section in the main article about X-ray objects, which could have some defining and general characteristics of each, and list some examples without the need to be complete. But there would be a link into the index table somewhere near the beginning (or end) of that "objects" section, and enough information in the index table to allow one to find all (?) of the objects of a particular type. (This does not sound too easy to implement--there are lots of subtypes, and more yet to be discovered, or invented....) I am not enough of an expert on Wikipedia lists, tables, categories, etc, to feel sure that we are not re-inventing a wheel here, though there is a huge amount of work that has been done in astronomy over the years to keep the organization tidy, and a very large amount on Wikipedia also (maybe already larger than in astronomy, but surely not in the wider business of scholarship). Don't want to break or screw up either of those areas, need to interface with both. Anyhow, I hope we don't create a monstrosity somehow. Cheers, Wwheaton (talk) 02:17, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

I have created an Index table for X-ray and gamma-ray sources based on this discussion and suggestions made by Wwheaton (talk). Have a look and feel free to comment, criticize, etc. Marshallsumter (talk) 02:21, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Splitting and merging[edit]

I did the splitting and merging to help organize the material. If Marshallsumter or some other editor wants to add some of that material back into the main article there is nothing to prevent it. As Marshallsumter pointed out the "Sun" article is 100K and I noticed that "Electron" is 100k. Both of these articles have achieved FA status, so I guess 100K is no major shortcoming. When adding some of the material back in the main article I reccomend following the merge Guidelines at the Help: merge page. I find the Quick reference section the most effective for me at Help:Merge#Quick_reference. Also, in this case I don't see a need for a merger proposal beforehand, imho. Steve Quinn (formerly Ti-30X) (talk) 04:35, 21 November 2009 (UTC

I've created the article Balloons for X-ray astronomy initially expecting it to be a stub. However, the subject even on Wikipedia is larger than I thought. The sections here that regard balloons have been included. I was wondering if we want to delete any of the balloon portions of this article or keep them. Marshallsumter (talk) 18:54, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Usually, when merging material into a new or already existing article, all that is needed is a short summary in the orginal article and a link to the new article. For example, in this case, all that is needed is a short summary about "Balloons for X-ray astronomy." I see that you already have a link to the new article. I would go ahead and merge the other two or three items from this article into that one. But that is just my opinion. Maybe you have a good reason for keeping those two or three related sections in this article instead of the other one. So, it's up to you. Steve Quinn (formerly Ti-30X) (talk) 23:32, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Portal: X-ray astronomy[edit]

I have looked at some of the portals currently available and have some questions which I hope someone can answer. When I type in a topic Wikipedia usually takes me to that main page, would it take me to the portal or the main page for "X-ray astronomy" or do I have to specify "Portal: X-ray astronomy"? While most of my inquiries are scientific, a few are social or cultural, and I've never been taken to any portal, so how many of them are there per main page? And do readers really know how to get to them, and do they help and increase readership for that subject? The confusion issue mentioned under "Featurette"s could be handled with quick links and better writing but if the above questions can be answered, it's okay with me to have a Portal: X-ray astronomy and use the Featurette material in this way, for example. Marshallsumter (talk) 20:51, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

{{portal|astronomy}}
Portal icon astronomy portal
Well... looking at PortalSpace (NS:100) ... http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%3AAllPages&from=&to=&namespace=100
Portals are linked to from the main article via a prominently displayed portalbox... usually placed at the top or near the top of the main article, or other articles that would benefit from linking to the portal. {{portal}}
The entire current events hierarchy is supposed to be part of portalspace.
Have a look at Portal:New_France and Portal:Current events
76.66.197.17 (talk) 07:32, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
The "featurettes" can be structured like the current events portal, with a box for a featurette on each area of X-ray astronomy, instead of each day. 76.66.197.17 (talk) 07:33, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

Eta Carinae[edit]

In the first sentence it states that there are shock waves going out from the star at supersonic speeds. This needs to be clarified and/or corrected because sound cannot travel through a vacuum, hence everything moving is at supersonic speeds in space. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.252.81.84 (talk) 16:50, 18 August 2010 (UTC)