POLIX instrument aboard ISRO’s XPOSAT begins observations

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Bengaluru, Feb 13 (PTI): The Indian X-ray Polarimeter (POLIX), onboard the X-ray polarimetry mission XPoSat launched on January one, has commenced its scientific observations. A pulse profile of the Crab pulsar is generated from the observations carried out by POLIX during January 15-18, the ISRO said on Tuesday. The Crab pulsar, a pulsating star, resides near the centre of the Crab Nebula and spins about its axis approximately 30 times per second.

The POLIX payload was activated in two stages by January 10, and initial scan observations were conducted around the Crab pulsar, the intended first target. The data plotted was collected during January 15-18, and thoroughly reviewed for confirmation. The data aligns with expectations, the space agency said. “This initial observation is a significant milestone for POLIX, showcasing its functionality and readiness for investigating pulsars, black holes, and other astronomical sources,” ISRO said.

“As the sole payload offering data in this energy band, POLIX is poised to offer unique insights and contribute to understanding the physical processes associated with Astronomical X-ray sources,” it said. POLIX was designed and developed by the X-ray Astronomy Laboratory at Raman Research Institute, Bengaluru. The instrument is built indigenously with the support from Indian industry. The other instrument XSPECT, onboard XPoSat, is ready for observations, it was stated.

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