Facts for Prelims (FFP)
Context: Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati and the UR Rao Satellite Centre of ISRO have achieved a groundbreaking discovery by detecting polarized emissions from an extragalactic black hole (i.e., outside our Milky Way Galaxy) marking the first such observation beyond our Milky Way Galaxy.
The team utilized X-ray polarimetry to study the binary star system ‘Large Magellanic Cloud X-3 (LMC X3),‘ consisting of a black hole and a massive star. The findings observed using NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) and other missions, provide insights into understanding the nature of astrophysical black hole sources.
- IXPE was the first mission of NASA to study the polarization of X-rays from celestial objects
- ISRO’s upcoming X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat) mission will be the second satellite with this capability.
What is Polarized emissions?
Polarized emissions refer to electromagnetic waves, such as light or X-rays, whose electric field vectors oscillate predominantly in a specific direction. In astrophysics, detecting polarized emissions from celestial objects, like black holes, provides valuable information about the object’s physical properties and surrounding environment.