Smile supernova, we’ll be staring at you

Second satellite by PES University students will look closely at a point in space and may catch the birth of a galaxy.

Published: 22nd November 2016 01:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd November 2016 01:23 AM   |  A+A-



Express News Service

BENGALURU: Students of a Bengaluru college first sent up a satellite to click photos of earth from space. Now, they are planning on another to look into space.

The Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) and PES University are collaborating on the project that also aims to make the study of astronomy and space cheaper for other institutions.  

Following the successful development and launch of a satellite project headed by PES University students recently, the PISAT, PES university is working on launching a second satellite, PISAT-2 in collaboration with IAA. IAA is presently associated with other city institutions on other projects.

While the PISAT is mainly being used for earth imaging, the PISAT-2 will be used to fly an ‘ultraviolet imager’– an instrument that will stare at a single point in space for the lifetime of the mission.
The goal is to search for variable objects and phenomenon – explosive events such as supernovae, exotic events such as planets falling into their parent stars or events in our neighborhood such as nearby asteroids.

While the payload containing the ultraviolet imager will be developed by scientists at the IAA, the satellite that will carry it to space will be the responsibility of the team from PES University.

“We hope that this will make astronomy much cheaper and accessible to less endowed institutions. Putting a series of payloads can be done for a few lakhs,” said Jayant Murthy, senior professor, IIA.
There are a lot of universities that are trying to make space experiments cheaper like MIT. What IIA will similarly be doing is developing instruments that can be used in space by many institutions. “The data obtained from such instruments will be made freely available,” he adds.

The details of the budget and schedule are presently being worked out, according to Divya Rao, assistant professor, PES University and a core member of the PISAT-2 project.

“The size of the satellite and the payload, total cost to be incurred will be known soon,” she says.
While PISAT took around four years to be launched, PISAT-2 is expected to take shorter time. “The time for design and development might be reduced since we already have extensive experience from the first project. We hope to finish PISAT-2 within a maximum of two years,” adds Divya.   

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