Five years of AstroSat: What India's first multi-wavelength satellite has achieved

It has imaged stars and galaxies and studied celestial objects

INDIA-SPACE-MOON Representational image

AstroSat, India's first multi-wavelength satellite, has completed five years of imaging stars and galaxies. The dedicated Indian astronomy mission, which was aimed at studying celestial objects, was launched on September 28, 2015. The mission was capable of performing observations in ultraviolet (UV), optical, low and high-energy X-ray wavebands at the same time.

“AstroSat has explored stars, star clusters, mapping of large and small satellite galaxies of the Milky Way called 'Magellanic Clouds', an energetic phenomenon in the universe such as the ultraviolet counterparts to gamma-ray bursts, supernovae, active galactic nuclei,” a statement by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) said. "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]. 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 ionise the intergalactic medium."

AstroSat, in August, had detected extreme-UV light from a galaxy, called AUDFs01, 9.3 billion light-years away from Earth. The Ultra-Violet Imaging Telescope, or the UVIT, is a remarkable 3-in-1 imaging telescope simultaneously observing the visible, the near-ultraviolet (NUV), and the far-ultraviolet (FUV) spectrum.It is one of the five payloads on board AstroSat. Weighing a total of of 230 kilograms, the UVIT comprises two separate telescopes. One of them works in the visible (320-550 nm) and the NUV (200-300 nm) range. The second works only in the FUV (130-180 nm) spectrum.

-Inputs from agencies