XPoSat (X-ray Polarimeter Satellite)
Science and technology
XPoSat (X-ray Polarimeter Satellite)
ISRO launched India’s first XPoSat
Why in News?
On January 1, 2024 the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched its first ever X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat), in order to study X-ray polarisation and its cosmic sources such as black holes and neutron stars. ISRO put its first XPoSAT in a precise circular orbit of 650km which took a flight of 21 minutes.
What is the XPoSat mission?
XPoSAT mission is inclined towards the study of various dynamics of bright astronomical x-ray sources in extreme conditions. It is the world’s second satellite based mission dedicated to making X-ray polarimetry measurements.
1.XPoSat spacecraft carries two payloads namely
- POLIX: Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays
It is the primary payload and is for measuring polarimetry perimeters like degree and angle of polarization in the energy range of 8-30 keV (electronvolt) of astronomical origin. It is built by Raman Research Institute in Bengaluru.
- XSPECT: X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing
The secondary payload XSPECT is for giving spectroscopic information in the energy range of 0.8-15 keV. It has been built by UR Rao Satellite Centre, Bengaluru.
- The spacecraft is designated for observation from low earth orbit (~ 650 km, low inclination of ~ 6 degree).
- It has an estimated mission life of about five years during which XPoSat will observe sources that emit polarised X-rays.
- XPoSat will observe two kinds of sources — persistent sources (targeted and known sources) and transient sources (pulsars, active galactic nuclei, magnetars).
Frequently Asked Questions
• What are the two scientific payloads onboard XPoSat?
POLIX: Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays and XSPECT: X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing
• How are X-Rays witnessed in space?
The X-ray observations are done in space when the magnetars or neutron stars that are highly magnetic and display a wide array of X-ray activity are in transit. When they go through the Earth’s shadow, for instance, during the eclipse period the X-rays can be witnessed.
• What is the polarisation of X-rays and why study it?
Polarisation happens because of scattering. When the X-ray light passes through a material, the electric part of the EM wave causes electrons to emit a photon. This gives an appearance that original photon has scattered. Such a study of can reveal the direction and strength of magnetic fields present.
• Why is the XPoSat mission significant?
X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat) is India’s maiden mission to analyse the polarisation of X-rays emanating from bright celestial sources in the medium frequency band. This process can also give wealth of information about the complex emission mechanism from various astronomical sources which is still a deeper challenge for many. The polarisation of celestial sources done either in the optical or radio bands earlier now hoped to be possible from bright sources and was never been attempted before.
• How does XPoSat compare with X-ray experiments or missions globally?
It is the first for India, and the second such mission in whole world. Missions on X-ray polarisation measurements have been a very few around the world over. However, the expansion brought along with XPoSAT is remarkable. Comparatively, the experiments like HX-POL and XL-Calibur by NASA and collaborators were short-duration. The astronomy-based space mission AstroSat 2015, contributed to timing and broadband spectroscopy of X-ray sources but no polarisation study. The lack of highly sensitive and precise instruments required for polarisation study makes it more challenging. The IXPE 2021(Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer) by NASA performed measurements but only within the soft X-ray band (2 to 8 keV energy band). Thus, XPoSat offer an expanded observational energy band, that would prove a milestone for polarisation studies.
About Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
ISRO is the national space agency of India. It operates as the primary research and development arm of the Department of Space.
ISRO – Background, Achievements and upcoming Missions
BISRO was established in August 1969. It was previously the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR)
It has successfully launched various communication satellites, earth observation, navigation satellites, exploration satellites and more like the Chandrayaan – 3 in 2023, Aryabhata 1975, MOM 2014, etc.
Source : Indian express
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