India’s eye in the sky

Print edition : October 02, 2015

A model of Astrosat at the ISRO Satellite Centre in Bengaluru. Photo: K. MURALI KUMAR

Koteswara Rao. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

K. Suryanarayana Sarma, project director of Astrosat. Photo: K. MURALI KUMAR

The wavelength and energy bands of gamma rays, soft X-rays, hard X-rays, ultraviolet and visible parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. Shown below are the different applications of X-rays at different energy scales. Photo: ISRO

Schematic of Astrosat satellite with solar panels stowed. On the top deck are the four main payloads for X-ray and UV astronomy: the three LAXPCs (in red); the two UVITs (in yellow) respectively for the two channels, far UV and near UV+ visible; the SXT (in blue and green); and the CZTI (in purple). On the side is the SSM (in green). Photo: ISRO

The South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) region (in red) and the trace of the satellite orbit at 6 degrees inclination (in brown) grazing the SAA region. Photo: ISRO

Schematic of the nested array of shells of paraboloidal and hyperboloidal mirrors arranged in the so-called Wolter-1 geometry for reflecting and focussing X-rays from stars at grazing incident angles. Astrosat uses a geometry that is an approximation to Wolter-1 geometry. Photo: ISRO

Schematic of tapering fibre connection (in blue) between the square focal plane imaging array of the CCDs (on top in grey) and the MCP at the base (in beige). This was a difficult technology that had to be incorporated in the focal plane imaging of the UVIT. Photo: ISRO

The Soft X-Ray Telescope (SXT), which has imaging capability from 10 keV right down to 0.3 keV. Photo: ISRO

One of the ultraviolet telescopes on the test bed. The invar tubular structure and the conical titanium interface can be seen. Photo: ISRO

The Large Area X-Ray Proportional Counters (LAXPCs) after the complete vibration test. Photo: ISRO

NASA's Swift observatory, an artist's impression. Photo: COURTESY: NASA

Europe's XMM-Newton observatory, an artistic impression.

The Astrosat taking shape. Photo: ISRO

The Cadmium-Zinc-telluride CCD imager with the passive cooling radiator plate, which radiates heat migrated to it into space to maintain the imaging array at 0 degrees C. Photo: ISRO

ISRO is all set to launch Astrosat, a dedicated astronomy satellite. It is unique because, unlike similar missions in Europe and the U.S., it is a multi-wavelength platform which affords a simultaneous observation of celestial objects across different wavelengths, giving a total perspective.

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