VIDEO: India Launches Satellite to Study Cosmic Rays

XPoSat mission launch | Image by Indian Space Research Organization

India’s space agency kicked off the new year with the launch of a new satellite on Monday.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced that it had launched its X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on January 1. This is the space agency’s first dedicated mission to study X-ray emission sources in “extreme conditions,” according to the ISRO.

The ISRO’s PSLV-C58 launch carried the XPoSat into orbit with two complimentary payloads, those being the POLIX, a polarimeter instrument, and XSPECT, an X-ray spectroscopy and timing payload, which will provide both spectroscopic information.

“Taking advantage of the long duration observations required by POLIX to measure X-ray polarization, XSPECT can provide long-term monitoring of spectral state changes in continuum emission, changes in their line flux and profile, simultaneous long term temporal monitoring of soft X-ray emission in the X-ray energy range 0.8-15 keV,” reads the ISRO’s website.

Scientists believe that these instruments will provide a deeper understanding of the “complex physical processes” that generate X-rays from various sources such as galactic nuclei, black holes, neutron stars, and more.

“The polarimetry measurements add two more dimensions to our understanding, the degree of polarization and the angle of polarization and thus is an excellent diagnostic tool to understand the emission processes from astronomical sources,” reads the ISRO’s website. “The polarimetric observations along with spectroscopic measurements are expected to break the degeneracy of various theoretical models of astronomical emission processes.”

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi celebrated the launch in a social media post.

“A great start to 2024 thanks to our scientists! This launch is wonderful news for the space sector and will enhance India’s prowess in this field. Best wishes to our scientists at @isro and the entire space fraternity in taking India to unprecedented heights,” said Modi in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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