India's first multi-wavelength space telescope, AstroSat, has successfully detected its 600th Gamma-ray Burst (GRB), an event named GRB 231122B.
- It is India’s first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory aimed at studying celestial sources in X-ray, optical, and UV spectral bands simultaneously.
- AstroSat, with a lift-off mass of 1515 kg, was launched by the Indian launch vehicle PSLV from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, on September 28, 2015, into a 650 km orbit inclined at an angle of 6 degrees to the equator.
- The spacecraft control center at Mission Operations Complex (MOX) of ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC), Bengaluru, manages the satellite during its entire mission life.
- The minimum useful life of the AstroSat mission is around 5 years.
- It carries a total of five scientific payloads enabling imaging and studying the temporal and spectral properties of galactic and extra- galactic cosmic sources in a wide range of wavelengths on a common platform.
- Scientific Objectives:
- To understand high energy processes in binary star systems containing neutron stars and black holes.
- Estimate magnetic fields of neutron stars.
- Study star birth regions and high energy processes in star systems lying beyond our galaxy.
- Detect new briefly bright X-ray sources in the sky.
- Perform a limited deep-field survey of the Universe in the Ultraviolet region.
Q1) What is a Gamma-ray Burst (GRB)?
Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are the most powerful and violent explosions in the known universe. These brief flashes of high-energy light result from some of the universe's most explosive events, including the birth of black holes and collisions between neutron stars. Lasting a few milliseconds to several minutes, GRBs can be hundreds of times brighter than an average supernova, making them as luminous as a million trillion suns. Thus, when a GRB erupts, it briefly becomes the brightest source of electromagnetic radiation in the observable universe.