X-Ray Polarimeter Satellite

Context: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is collaborating with the Raman Research Institute (RRI) to build X-Ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat), scheduled to be launched later in 2023.

X-Ray Polarimeter Satellite:

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  • XPoSat (X-ray Polarimeter Satellite) is India’s first dedicated polarimetry mission to study various dynamics of bright astronomical X-ray sources under extreme conditions.
    • NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) Mission is the first satellite mission dedicated to the measure the polarization of X-Rays from different cosmic sources. 
    • XPoSat is the world’s second polarimetry mission using X-Ray. 
  • The spacecraft will carry two scientific payloads – an X-Ray Polarimeter (POLIX) and X-ray SPECtroscopy and Timing (XSPECT) in a low earth orbit.
    • POLIX will measure the polarimetry parameters (degree and angle of polarization) in the medium X-ray energy range of 8-30 keV photons of astronomical origin. POLIX is expected to observe about 40 bright astronomical sources of different categories during the planned lifetime of the XPoSat mission of about 5 years. 
    • XSPECT payload will give spectroscopic information in the energy range of 0.8-15 keV. It would observe several types of sources viz. X-ray pulsars, blackhole binaries, low-magnetic field neutron stars in Low-mass X-ray binaries, Active galactic nuclei and Magnetars. 
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Significance of the mission: 

  • The emission mechanism from various astronomical sources such as blackhole, neutron stars, active galactic nuclei, pulsar wind nebulae etc. originates from complex physical processes and is challenging to understand.
    • While the spectroscopic and timing information by various space-based observatories provides a wealth of information, the exact nature of the emission from such sources still poses deeper challenges to astronomers. 
  • The polarimetry measurements add two more dimensions i.e., the degree of polarization and the angle of polarization and thus is an excellent diagnostic tool to understand the emission processes from astronomical sources. 

Practise MCQ:

Q. Consider the following statements with reference to X-Ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat):

1. XPoSat is the world’s first satellite mission dedicated to the measure the polarization of X-Rays from different cosmic sources.

2. The spacecraft will carry two scientific payloads in the geostationary earth orbit.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d)Neither 1 nor 2










Scroll down for answer

Answer: (d) 

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