In DepthAstronomy

India to put observatory in orbit

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Science  18 Sep 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6254, pp. 1271-1272
DOI: 10.1126/science.349.6254.1271

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On 28 September, India plans to launch a major space-based observatory that will set a milestone for a developing country—and also mark a first for space science. The $45-million Astrosat mission will put India in an elite group of science powers—the United States, the European Union, and Japan—doing astronomy from orbit. The spacecraft also has a unique design. Instead of focusing on a single region of the spectrum, it carries a suite of five instruments, including two telescopes, which will observe cosmic objects simultaneously in several wavebands: visible, ultraviolet, and soft and hard x-rays. Astrosat's multiwavelength capability could pay special dividends with sources that flare up rapidly, such as x-ray binaries.

  • * in New Delhi; Pallava Bagla is a science journalist in New Delhi.