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Astronomical Transients (2024 Shaw Prize for Astronomy)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: Th

 Context: Shrinivas Kulkarni has won the 2024 Shaw Prize for Astronomy for his studies of astronomical transients.

 

His contributions:

Recognized for pioneering research on millisecond pulsars, gamma-ray bursts, supernovae, and other transient astronomical objects. He led the development of the Palomar Transient Factory and Zwicky Transient Facility, transforming our comprehension of the time-variable optical sky.

  

About Astronomical Transients

Astronomical transients are celestial objects that undergo rapid changes in brightness, often associated with violent space events. Astronomers study them to understand their origins and mechanisms, providing insights into stable astronomical phenomena.

 

Examples:

  1. Supernovae: Explosions resulting from large stars exhausting fusionable elements, sometimes outshining entire galaxies due to their intense brightness.
  2. Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN): Supermassive black holes at the centres of galaxies actively consume matter, causing fluctuations in brightness.
  3. Fast Radio Burst (FRB): Discovered in 2007, emitting energy exceeding ten times that of the sun in milliseconds.

 

About the Prize:

Founded by Mr. Run Run Shaw in 2002, the Shaw Prize celebrates outstanding achievements in astronomy, life science and medicine, and mathematical sciences. Each year, the Prize honours individuals who have made significant contributions to their fields, promoting excellence and societal progress.