India's Astrosat witnesses black hole birth for 500th time in space, records 'mini big bangs'
While the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a global network of radio telescopes, has captured the first image of the black hole at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy, Indian scientists are not far behind. India's Astrosat space telescope has witnessed the birth of a black hole for the 500th time as stars collapse onto themselves to form the mysterious object in deep space.
A black hole is a place in space where gravity is so strong that even light cannot escape its pull. According to Nasa, the gravity in black holes is so strong because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space. This can happen when a star is dying.
The Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) has said that India is making great headway in studying the birth of these black holes using the spacecraft. Professor Varun Bhalerao, who leads the search for black holes, said that the spacecraft has been studying Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRB) since it first opened its eyes 6.5 years ago.
IUCAA said that the Cadmium Zinc Telluride Imager (CZTI) instrument onboard Astrosat has witnessed the birth of black holes for the five hundredth time. “This is a landmark achievement. The wealth of data obtained by CZTI on Gamma-Ray Bursts is making a big impact worldwide," Prof. Dipankar Bhattacharya of Ashoka University, the current Principal Investigator of CZTI said in a statement.
Launched in 2015, Astrosat has been observing Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRB) that happen when a star dies. These explosions are so powerful that they have been called “mini big bangs”, sending intense jets of light and high-energy radiation shooting across the universe.