GROWTH-India telescope's first science observation

What is Important?
From UPSC Perspectives
Prelims :Key facts
Mains:Highlights & Significance

Why in News?

The 0.7 m GROWTH-India telescope at the Indian Astronomical Observatory located in Hanle, Ladakh, has made its first science observation which is a follow-up study of a nova explosion. 

Key facts:

  • Novae are explosive events involving violent eruptions on the surface of white dwarf stars, leading to temporary increase in brightness of the star. 
  • Unlike a supernova, the star does not go on to die but returns to its earlier state after the explosion.
  • The magnitude of the nova explosion first identified by Darnley et al as it varies, during November 8 to November 10.
  • The celestial object was first noticed by a different group which saw the nova explosion.

  • This is a small step in astronomy but a big leap for us, because it is the first scientific result obtained by this telescope.
  • The observations were made in different optical bands. The nova was seen to decline rapidly in brightness, by 1 - 1.5 magnitudes in the span of 2 days.
  • The telescope has been taking readings since then, and this is the first ‘follow-up’ work.
  • The telescope is potentially fully robotic and can operate on its own, but the way these readings were taken has only partly used its potential for automation.
  • This telescope has a field that is five to six times larger. It can ‘slew’ or move its focus from one part of the sky to another in just about 10-15 seconds and its camera can view stellar objects that are thousands to millions of light years away.


  • The GROWTH-India telescope is part of the Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen. Its goals are threefold: 
(1) Search for explosions in the optical regime whenever LIGO group detects a Binary Neutron Star merger
(2) study nearby young supernova explosions.
(3) Study nearby asteroids.

  • Transient phenomena such as supernovae are important parts of time-domain astronomy which is a less-explored frontier in astronomy. “Such an explosion is when the inner material of the star is thrown out.
  • There is no other way we can actually see what is inside a star.

GROWTH-India telescope's first science observation GROWTH-India telescope's first science observation Reviewed by The Hindu Current Affairs on November 18, 2018 Rating: 5

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