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Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 Source: IE

 Context: XPoSat is India’s first polarimetry mission, developed in collaboration between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Raman Research Institute (RRI) (an autonomous research institute), to be launched later this year.


About XPoSat mission:

AboutThe X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat) is an ISRO-planned space observatory to study the polarisation of cosmic X-rays
What is Polarisation?Polarization refers to the direction in which waves vibrate, particularly in the context of light.

Explanation using an exampleImagine a rope being shaken up and down to create waves. If you hold the rope straight and shake it side to side, the waves will also move in that direction. This is similar to linear polarization.

Significance of the Study Studying how radiation is polarised gives away the nature of its source, including the strength and distribution of its magnetic fields, understanding the geometry and inner workings of the light source and the nature of other radiation around it. XPoSat will study the 50 brightest known sources in the universe, including pulsars, black hole X-ray binaries, active galactic nuclei, and non-thermal supernova remnants
What are X-Rays?X-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation that has higher energy and shorter wavelengths than visible light. X-rays come from objects that are millions of degrees Celsius — such as pulsars, galactic supernova remnants, and black holes.
PayloadPOLIX (Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays): It will study 40 bright astronomical sources of different categories


XSPECT (X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing): It will study X-ray pulsars, black hole binaries, low-magnetic field neutron stars, active galactic nuclei (AGNs), magnetars

OrbitThe observatory will be placed in a circular low Earth orbit of 500–700 km
DurationA planned lifetime of about 5 years
GoalsUnderstand emission mechanisms from complex physical processes; Provide valuable insights into the emission processes of X-ray sources
Other such missionsXPoSat is India’s first, and only the world’s second polarimetry mission that is meant to study various dynamics of bright astronomical X-ray sources in extreme conditions. The other such major mission is NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) which was launched in 2021.