Context: Recently, AstroSat’s Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope spots rare ultraviolet-bright stars in a massive intriguing cosmic dinosaur in the Milky Way.

Significance of the finding:

  • Such UV-bright stars are speculated to be the reason for the ultraviolet radiation coming from old stellar systems such as elliptical galaxies which are devoid of young blue stars. 
  • Hence, it is all the more important to observe more such stars to understand their properties.

About AstroSat:

  • AstroSat with a lift-off mass of 1515 kg was launched on September 28, 2015 into a near-Earth equatorial orbit (650 km) by PSLV-C30. 
  • AstroSat is India’s first multi-wavelength space telescope.
  • It is a multi-institute collaborative project, involving IUCAA, ISRO, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (Mumbai), Indian Institute of Astrophysics (Bengaluru), and Physical Research Laboratory (Ahmedabad), among others.
  • It has five telescopes seeing through different wavelengths simultaneously - visible, near UV, far UV, soft X-ray and hard X-ray.
    • Onboard the AstroSat is a 38cm wide UltraViolet Imaging Telescope (UVIT), which is capable of imaging in far and near-ultraviolet bands over a wide field of view.
  • The scientific objectives of mission are:
    • To understand high energy processes in binary star systems containing neutron stars and black holes;
    • Estimate magnetic fields of neutron stars;
    • Study star birth regions and high energy processes in star systems lying beyond our galaxy;
    • Detect new briefly bright X-ray sources in the sky;
    • Perform a limited deep field survey of the Universe in the Ultraviolet region.
  • Significance:
    • It endeavours for a more detailed understanding of our universe. 
    • It enables the simultaneous multi-wavelength observations of various astronomical objects with a single satellite.

Image Source: ISRO