Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Hon’ble Union Minister for Science and Technology, Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Earth Sciences, Govt. of India visited the Centre for Research and Education in Science and Technology (CREST), Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) at Hosakote. He was welcomed by Prof. P Sreekumar, Director of IIA and Prof. G C Anupama, Dean and Professor-in-charge of CREST and others at CREST.
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Indian astronomers have detected microstructure emissions from a millisecond pulsar for the first time. Millisecond pulsars (MSP) are highly magnetized, rapidly rotating neutron stars that take as little as one-thousandth to one-hundredth of a second to rotate about its axis once. In a recently published study, scientists from the Department of Physics at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA), Tata Institute for Fundamental Research (TIFR), have discovered these microstructure emissions using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT), an array of thirty antennae scanning the sky for radio sources. They are now uncovering the processes that produce these microstructure emissions. While similar emissions had been discovered from more slowly rotating pulsars, this is the first time they have been discovered coming from millisecond pulsars.
A protective sheath covering the earth, bombarding cosmic rays, violent storms in the upper atmosphere – these are not figments of imagination from a sci-fi novel but are rather accurate descriptions of the space surrounding the earth. In fact, the space around our planet is chock full of high energy particles whizzing around, like the solar wind, a steady stream of charged particles emanating from the sun and Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR), ultra high energy particles of cosmic origins travelling at nearly the speed of light. Why then don’t we have to bother about the effects of such high energy particles that can affect our electronic gadgets and damage our DNA? The answer is the geomagnetic field, the magnetic field of the earth, extending from the core out into space a distance of several earth radii, forming a region around the earth called the magnetosphere.The GMF acts as our natural shield by deflecting high energy charged particles away from the earth.