The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is on a roll following its Chandrayaan-3 and Aditya L1 Missions, the space agency is gearing up for a new year surprise.
Details of the Mission
On January 1, 2024, when the world will be welcoming the new year, scientists from ISRO will launch XpoSAT. This will be India’s first polarimetry mission and will take a look at black holes and other astronomical sources of X-rays.
The spacecraft is slated for a lift-off at 9:10 AM on January 1, 2024. After this, the XpoSAT will be placed in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). As per reports, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) will carry the XpoSAT up into the sky.
XpoSAT has two scientific payloads, the primary being POLIX (Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays). It will measure polarimetry parameters. These are the degree and angle of polarization. The measurements will be made in a medium X-range of 8-30 keV. POLIX’s mission will encompass the study of approximately 40 bright astronomical sources spanning various categories.
It comprises a collimator, scatterer, and four X-ray proportional counter detectors. The collimator narrows the field of view to three degrees by three degrees, ensuring that only one prominent source is observed at any given time during many observations.
The second payload is XSPECT (X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing). This payload will give spectroscopic information at an energy range of 0.8-15kEV. The emission mechanism from various astronomical sources such as black holes, neutron stars, active galactic nuclei, and pulsar wind nebulae originates from complex physical processes and is challenging to understand.
XSPECT’s targeted sources encompass a spectrum of celestial objects, including X-ray pulsars, black hole binaries, low-magnetic field neutron stars (NS) within low-mass X-ray binaries, active galactic nuclei, and Magnetars.
“While the spectroscopy and timing information by various space-based observatories provides a wealth of information, the exact nature of the emission from such sources still poses deeper challenges to astronomers,” said ISRO.
The integration of polarimetric observations with spectroscopic measurements is anticipated to break down any barrier that is present by several theoretical models pertaining to astronomical emission processes. This amalgamation of data is poised to become the principal avenue of research for the Indian scientific community throughout the XPoSat mission.