May 21, 2022

Astrosat, India’s first dedicated astronomy mission, witnessed the birth of black holes for the five hundredth.


  • Black holes have been a subject of intense scrutiny from astronomers from all over the world. However, Indian scientists are making great headway in studying black hole births using the indigenously built space telescope - Astrosat.
  • Calling it a landmark achievement, Prof. Dipankar Bhattacharya, the current Principal Investigator of CZTI said, the wealth of data obtained on Gamma Ray Bursts is making a big impact worldwide.
  • It may be noted that astronomers study Gamma Ray Bursts, also called the mini big bangs and X-rays from such bursts to better understand formation of black holes.
  • Astrosat with a lift-off mass of 1,515 kilogram was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, on 28th of September 2015.
  • It is the most sensitive space telescope in the world; consisting of five instruments that can simultaneously study the universe in ultraviolet, optical and X-ray radiation.
  • One of these instruments is the Cadmium Zinc Telluride Imager - CZTI, which discovers the birth of black holes. A unique aspect of CZTI is the ability to measure the polarisation of X-rays: an ability that is lacking in flagship missions like NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Telescope or the US-Europe Fermi Space Telescope.