Indigenously designed and developed ‘Made in India’ spectrograph, commissioned on Devasthal Optical Telescope, can locate faint light from distant celestial objects. Aryabhatta Research Institute of observational sciences (ARIES), Nainital has developed the Aries-Devasthal Faint Object Spectrograph & Camera. It can locate sources of light with a photon-rate as low as about 1 photon per second. Such spectroscopes were so far imported from abroad involved high costs. The ‘Made in India’ optical spectrograph is at low cost.
Indian Scientists have designed and developed this low-cost optical spectrograph that can locate sources of faint light from distant quasars and galaxies in a very young universe, regions around supermassive black-holes around the galaxies, and cosmic explosions.
“The indigenous efforts to build complex instruments like ADFOSC in India is an important step to become ‘Aatmanirbhar’ in the field of astronomy & astrophysics,” said Prof. Dipankar Banerjee, Director, ARIES.
This instrument, a backbone of the 3.6-m DOT for observations of extremely faint celestial sources, uses a complex arrangement of several lenses made of special glasses, polished to better than 5-nanometer smoothness to produce sharp images of the celestial sky.
Photons coming from distant celestial sources, collected by the telescope, are sorted into different colors by the spectrograph and are finally converted into electronic recordable signals using an in-house developed Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) camera cooled to an extremely low temperature of -120 0C. The total cost of this instrument is nearly Rs. 4 Crore.
The spectroscope, the largest of its kind among the existing astronomical spectrographs in the country, has been successfully commissioned on the 3.6-m Devasthal Optical Telescope (DOT), the largest in the country and in Asia, near Nainital Uttarakhand.
Dr. Amitesh Omar, scientist at ARIES, led this project with a technical and scientific team, which together researched and developed various optical, mechanical, and electronics subsystems of the spectrograph and camera. The spectrograph is presently being used by astronomers from India and abroad to study distant quasars and galaxies in a very young universe, regions around supermassive black-holes around the galaxies, cosmic explosions like supernovae and highly energetic Gamma-ray bursts, young and massive stars, and faint dwarf galaxies.
ARIES now plans to commission more complex instruments such as spectro-polarimeter and high spectral resolution spectrograph on the 3.6-m Devasthal telescope in the near future.
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