Indian telescope AstroSat measures X-ray polarisation of Crab pulsar star in Taurus constellation

India’s multi-wavelength space telescope AstroSat had measured the X-ray polarisation of the Crab pulsar (star) in the Taurus constellation, said space agency ISRO.

“AstroSat accomplished the difficult task of measuring X-ray polarisation of Crab pulsar in the Taurus constellation during 18-months of its study for the first time,” said the Indian Space Research Organisaion (ISRO) in a statement here on Monday.

ISRO launched its first dedicated space observatory AstroSat on a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (rocket) on September 28, 2015, from its spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

“The telescope measured the variations of polarisation as the magetised object (pulsar) spins 30 times per second,” said the statement quoting from a paper published in “NatureAstronomy” journal.

A pulsar is a rotating neutron star or white dwarf, which emits electromagnetic radiation. Neutron stars and black holes are examples of such objects.

Taurus is the second astrological sign in the present zodiac. It spans the 30-60th degree of the zodiac.

The landmark measurement by the satellite’s CZT (Cadmium-Zinc-Telluride) imaging instrument challenges theories of high energy X-ray emission from pulsars.

“Indian scientists using data from the CZT Imager have performed the most sensitive measurement of X-ray polarisation of the Crab pulsar, the rotating neutron star which is the main energy source of the nebula,” the scientific paper pointed out.

The 1,513 kg space observatory built at a cost of Rs 180 crore has five scientific instruments to study celestial objects in the universe for the first time at optical, ultraviolet and x-ray wavebands simultaneously. The instruments are a soft x-ray telescope, an ultraviolet imaging telescope, an imager and a scanning sky monitor..

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