India’s first multi-wavelength astronomical observatory, AstroSat, completed five years of imaging celestial objects in space on Monday.
Launched on September 28, 2015, by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), AstroSat has achieved quite a feat in five years of its operation.
It has carried out 1,166 observations of 800 unique celestial sources proposed by scientists both from India and abroad, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) said in a statement.
The astronomical observatory has explored many stars, clusters of stars, mapping of large and small satellite galaxies of the Milky Way called ‘Magellanic Clouds’, an energetic phenomenon in the Universe like ultra-violet counterparts to gamma-ray bursts, supernovae, active galactic nuclei.
“Its superior spatial resolution capability has enabled astronomers to probe star formation in galaxies as well as resolve the cores of star clusters (three times better than the last NASA mission, GALEX),” the statement said.
“Observations from UVIT has recently led to the discovery of a galaxy located at a distance of about 10 billion light-years from Earth and emitting extreme ultraviolet radiation that can ionize the intergalactic medium,” it added.
It has proved to be an important satellite that is capable of carrying out simultaneous observations over a range of wavelengths from the far ultraviolet to the hard X-ray band.
The Ultra-Violet Imaging Telescope (UVIT), is a 3-in-1 imaging telescope that simultaneously observes the visible, the near-ultraviolet (NUV), and the far-ultraviolet (FUV) spectrum. It is one of the five payloads onboard AstroSat.