Unique Triumph by ISRO: Black Hole Emissions Beyond Milky Way

By Stephen J Daniel

Unveiling Galactic Secrets: A Unique Triumph by ISRO

Pioneering Techniques Shed Light on Cosmic Marvel

Exploring the depths of the Universe has been an unceasing pursuit among scientists. A recent breakthrough, led by Professor Santabrata Das of IIT Guwahati and Dr. Anuj Nandi from URSC, has illuminated a celestial revelation. The collaborative team pioneered X-ray polarimetry, unveiling mysteries shrouding black hole emissions beyond the boundaries of our galaxy.

Unveiling a Historic Discovery

In a groundbreaking feat, researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati and the UR Rao Satellite Centre of the Indian Space Research Centre (ISRO) detected polarized emissions from a black hole source extending beyond our galactic boundaries. The innovative use of X-ray polarimetry marked a monumental milestone in capturing such phenomena, unveiling a new frontier in astrophysical exploration.

Voyage into Uncharted Territories

Their observation centered on 'Large Magellanic Cloud X-3 (LMC X3),' a binary star system encompassing a black hole and a stellar counterpart surpassing the Sun in temperature, size, and massiveness. Situated within a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, approximately 200,000 light years distant from Earth, this system emerged as a beacon of cosmic revelation.

Unprecedented Revelations

The revelation of 'LMC X-3' in 1971 initiated continuous observations by various satellites. However, understanding the polarization properties of X-ray emissions from high-energy entities like stellar mass black holes remained an elusive gap in astrophysical understanding, as indicated by IIT Guwahati.

Advanced Technological Endeavors

Leveraging 'The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE),' NASA's pioneering mission dedicated to studying X-ray polarization from celestial entities, the researchers delved into the intricacies of LMC X-3. Simultaneously utilizing the broad-band coverage of the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) Mission and the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) Mission, they sought to elucidate the spin dynamics of LMC X-3.

Significance of the Revelation

Professor Das emphasized the unique nature of X-ray polarimetry in pinpointing the origins of radiation near black holes. The immensely powerful X-rays emitted by LMC X-3, 10,000 times more potent than those from our Sun, bear crucial information regarding the gravitational forces' influence on matter's journey towards black holes.

Unveiling the Unseen

Dr. Nandi shed light on the impact of intense gravitational fields on the light emitted from black holes. The observations hinted at LMC X-3 housing a black hole with a slow rotation rate, encircled by a slim disc structure generating the polarized emissions that have captivated astronomers.

Stride Towards Cosmic Enlightenment

Published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, this groundbreaking study received funding from the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Department of Science and Technology, India. This signifies a leap forward in unraveling the cosmic enigma.

Unveiling the Cosmic Veil

With this revelation, the cosmic veil has lifted, offering a glimpse into the extraordinary and the unknown. It marks a significant stride in our understanding of the cosmic tapestry beyond our Milky Way Galaxy.