Photometric observations recently taken with the 3.6 m Devasthal Optical Telescope have provided vital information on the earliest phase of a kilonova ever detected, radically changing the understanding of scientists about the origin of GRBs.
About Gamma Ray Bursts:
- GRBs are powerful astronomical cosmic bursts of high-energy gamma-ray.
- GRB emits more energy in a few seconds than our Sun will emit in its lifetime and has two distinct emission phases:
- the short-lived prompt emission (the initial burst phase that emits gamma-rays), followed by a long-lived multi-wavelength afterglow phase.
- The prompt emission (initial gamma-ray emission) of GRBs are automatically discovered by space-based gamma-ray missions such as NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, and India’s AstroSat.
- In recent years, scientists have discovered a special phenomenon called a kilonova of visible and infrared light with short-period GRBs, also known as a potential source of gravitational waves.
- It has been hypnotized that the heat produced by the radioactive decay of heavier elements may emit kilonova.
- This process also produces heavier elements, such as gold and platinum.
- However, observing kilonovas at near-infrared wavelengths is technically challenging, and only a few telescopes on Earth, including the 3.6-meter Devasthal Optical Telescope of the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), can detect kilonova and gravitational wave objects at these wavelengths upto faint limits.
Q1) What is ARIES?
Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) is a leading research institute established in 1954 which specialises in Astronomy, Astrophysics and Atmospheric Sciences. It is an autonomous body under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India situated at Manora Peak, in Nainital, Uttarakhand.