XPoSAT Mission 2024: Unveiling Cosmic Marvels through Positive X-ray Discoveries

India’s ISRO XPoSAT 2024 launched, what is special in it, know the complete update

Breaking Ground in Astrophysics: India’s ISRO 2024 New Year Update Unveils the Launch of its First X-ray Space Observatory – XPoSAT. Discovering the Universe’s Hidden Secrets through X-ray Polarization

We have a very exciting New Year update. India plans to usher in its 2024 by launching its first ever X -ray space observatory Missions XPoSAT lunched to observe the biggest, brightest phenomena in the universe through X -rays.

Table of Contents

The XPoSAT Mission

The spacecraft, which will be about 469 kilos, will carry two instruments which will study X -rays from the same source for information about the X -ray characteristics and their behaviour so that the nature of the source that they come from can be understood.

XPoSAT Mission 2024: Unveiling Cosmic Marvels through Positive X-ray Discoveries
XPoSAT Mission 2024: Unveiling Cosmic Marvels through Positive X-ray Discoveries

Academic Leadership and Collaboration

The mission is academically led by the Raman Research Institute in Bengaluru and it is being developed in collaboration with ISRO’S UR -Rao Satellite Center which is also in Bengaluru. While the U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC) has developed the XSPECT payload or instrument, Raman Research Institute has built the POLIX payload and these are the only two payloads that will go up on this space observatory.

POLIX and XSPECT: XPoSAT Mission 2024: Unveiling Cosmic Marvels through Positive X-ray Discoveries
POLIX and XSPECT: XPoSAT Mission 2024: Unveiling Cosmic Marvels through Positive X-ray Discoveries

Mission Details

This mission will launch on New Year’s Day as of now, on January the 1st from Sriharikota but the launch window or the launch timings is yet to be announced because it depends on the weather at the time.

SPoSAT: Satish Dhawan Space Centre Shar SHRIHARIKOTA
SPoSAT: Satish Dhawan Space Centre Shar SHRIHARIKOTA

Understanding X-rays and Polarization

This mission will study and analysis the polarization of X -rays. So what is polarization? A wave flight is said to be polarized when the orientation of the oscillations of the electric field in this transverse sinusoidal light wave is at an angle to the magnetic field.

Understanding the various angles and intensity of polarization will provide further clues into the nature of the source that creates these X -rays and the mechanism behind how they are created.

Observing the Brightest Objects in the Universe

The objects that XPoSAT will observe would be some of the brightest and highest energetic objects in the universe. The observatory will fix its X -ray gaze towards high energy, intensely bright, extremely powerful sources. These include things like of course black holes but also pulsars, neutron stars, and supernovas.

Neutron Stars:XPoSAT
Neutron Stars:XPoSAT

But if they’re so intensely bright and energetic, how would this observatory study them? Well, these objects would be observed when the observatory is on the other side of the earth from the source. So the observatory exposes and the source have the earth in between them.

So the x-rays that are coming from the source will emanate from the sides of the earth that this observatory can then observe and study without directly looking at the source. And to do this, XPoSAT will be placed in a circular orbit, a low earth orbit, at about 500 to 700 kilometers at an altitude of 650 kilometers with 6-degree inclination.

Scientific Objectives of the Mission

Scientific objectives of the mission as listed on the ISRO website include studying the structure and geometry of magnetic fields of neutron stars, mechanism of X -ray emissions in pulsars which are rapidly spinning neutron stars, studying X -ray emissions from the poles and even understanding if supernova remnants emit energy more as thermal radiation or as non -thermal or non -heat energy.

Payloads: POLIX and XSPECT

What are the payloads that are going to go on this spacecraft that will help us understand these objects? First of all, understanding the nature of polarization of X -rays from an object helps us understand the characteristics of the strength of magnetic field around this object. In turn, this then provides the nature of the objects and mechanisms behind how the sources emit radiation. The two payloads that work in the medium X -ray range and complement the X -ray data brought in by NASA will be POLIX and XSPECT.

POLIX:Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays

The Polarimeter instrument in X -rays or the POLIX payload is the primary payload and it is of course as the name indicates a Polarimeter. It will measure the degree of angle of polarization of incoming X -rays. This instrument is entirely developed by Raman Research Institute.

POLIX (Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays) Payload:XPoSAT

XSPECT:X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing

The X -ray spectroscopy and timing or the XSPECT payload is a spectrometer that will study the timing of X -ray emissions and how frequently they occur from the source. This instrument was built by the space astronomy group at the UR Rao Space Center in ISRO.



The entire scientific community, the astronomy and astrophysics community especially is extremely interested and excited about this launch and the findings will bring in new kinds of data that we haven’t seen in this medium X -ray band before.

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