Podcast: The Future of Discovery with Lynx

Following the public release of our Concept Study Report, our very own Dr. Jessica Gaskin, the NASA Study Scientist for Lynx, joined WLRH for their Public Radio Hour to discuss our vision for a new epoch of discovery. Dr. Gaskin appeared alongside the inimitable Dr. Martin Weisskopf, Chandra X-ray Observatory Project Scientist at the Marshall Space Flight Center, who discussed Chandra’s two decades of discovery.

Dr. Gaskin’s segment on Lynx starts at the 31 minute mark.

Dr. Jessica Gaskin, NASA Study Scientist for the  Lynx  Concept Study

Dr. Jessica Gaskin, NASA Study Scientist for the Lynx Concept Study

Dr. Martin Weisskopf,  Chandra X-ray Observatory  Project Scientist

Dr. Martin Weisskopf, Chandra X-ray Observatory Project Scientist

Why a Lynx?

An early  Lynx  mission branding concept from Illustrator  David Miller .

An early Lynx mission branding concept from Illustrator David Miller.

Lynx isn't an acronym. It is a name with a deep connection to the history of Astronomy.  

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was a proud member of Italy's Accademia dei Lincei (Academy of the Lynx), a scientific society devoted to investigations of the natural world. Federico Cesi, who founded the "Lincean Academy" in 1603, named it after the lynx, whose sharp vision evokes the observational prowess on which scientific progress relies. It was in one early meeting of the academy that the term "telescope" was first coined. The Lincean Academy exists to this day as the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, effectively serving as Italy's National Academy of Science.  

Galileo Galilei was a member of Italy's  Accademia dei Lincei (Academy of the Lynx) .

Galileo Galilei was a member of Italy's Accademia dei Lincei (Academy of the Lynx).

The lynx is a feline with keen eyesight and, in many cultures and traditions, is a symbol of great insight and the supernatural ability to see through to the true nature of things.

Illustration from Urania's Mirror, a set of star charts engraved by Sydney Hall and published in 1824. Lynx was a constellation proposed in 1687 by Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius, and consisted of 19 stars spanning the gulf between Ursa Major and Auriga. Hevelius named the constellation after a Lynx because it was so faint, and stated that only the "lynx-eyed" would be able to find it.

Our mission concept was originally dubbed the "X-ray Surveyor", but our team felt that Lynx was a perfect name to evoke the major scientific themes of our mission, all of which relate to the "unseen" or the "invisbile".

That the name ended with an "X" didn't hurt, either.  

Our mission's logo is evocative of rays of light, grazing incidence mirror shell segments, and, of course, X-rays. You can learn more about  Lynx  mission branding  here .

Our mission's logo is evocative of rays of light, grazing incidence mirror shell segments, and, of course, X-rays. You can learn more about Lynx mission branding here.

Big things have small beginnings

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Welcome

Lynx is an observatory for all. Not just all astronomers - all people. NASA's Great Observatories like Hubble and Chandra embody this grand tradition. Yes, they deliver great science, but they also inspire the public to pursue a greater understanding of the world (and Universe!) around them. Even mission concepts, then, should welcome and inspire interest from and within the global public. 

It is in this spirit that we are excited and proud to launch the new platform upon which we will share the vision, story, and journey of Lynx with the world

What you see here is merely a beginning. Content will be ever changing, our mission blog will expand with frequent posts from members of the Lynx Team, and we will keep the community up-to-date with news before, during, and after the meeting of the 2020 Decadal Survey. 

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Today marks the start of the XXXth IAU General Assembly in Vienna, and we are celebrating with the launch of our new website. The Lynx Twitter and Facebook accounts will be actively involved in #IAU2018, and we have far bigger plans to come for the 233rd AAS Meeting in Seattle (January 6-10, 2019). 

We may be launching in the 2030s, but our journey begins today. Join us.