Science & Tech

The Great Indian Radio Telescope (GMRT) is India’s largest radio telescope

  • The Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) of India is part of an international collaboration including six big telescopes.
  • Through pulsar observations, the telescopes produced evidence supporting the occurrence of gravitational waves.

GMRT (Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope)

  • The GMRT is a collection of thirty completely steerable parabolic radio telescopes in India, near Narayangaon.
  • It is widely regarded as the world’s largest and most sensitive low-frequency radio telescope array.
  • The National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA), a division of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, runs it.
  • Since its construction between 1984 and 1996 under the direction of Late Prof. Govind Swarup, it has made major contributions to the study of astronomy.
  • The GMRT’s recent upgrade has increased its capabilities, earning it the moniker “upgraded Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope” (uGMRT).

Location and Specifications

  • The GMRT Observatory is located roughly 80 kilometres north of Pune, near Khodad, with the town of Narayangaon only 9 kilometres away. The NCRA office is on the campus of Savitribai Phule Pune University.
  • The GMRT is made up of thirty completely steerable parabolic radio telescopes, each with a diameter of 45 metres.
  • The telescopes are arranged in an interferometric array with baselines of up to 25 kilometres, allowing for precise and detailed observations.

Observations and Science

  • Galaxy Formation and 21-cm Line Radiation: The GMRT was designed to look for extremely redshifted 21-cm line radiation from primordial neutral hydrogen clouds, allowing the epoch of galaxy formation in the universe to be determined.
  • Diverse Astronomical Goals: The GMRT is used by astronomers all around the world to study a wide range of astronomical phenomena, including HII regions, galaxies, pulsars, and supernovae, as well as the Sun and solar winds.

Amazing Discoveries

  • The GMRT detected the most distant known galaxy, about 12 billion light-years away, in August 2018.
  • The GMRT performed a critical part in observing the greatest explosion ever recorded in the universe, the Ophiuchus Supercluster explosion, in February 2020.
  • The GMRT detected a radio signal from 8.8 billion light-years away in January 2023, especially a fast radio burst (FRB) known as FRB 2023L.

Recent Discoveries

  • Time Aberrations: The researchers discovered time aberrations in pulsar signals, indicating the presence of gravitational waves.
  • Galactic-Scale Gravitational Wave Detector: To develop a virtual detector sensitive to gravitational wave transmissions, scientists scattered ultra-stable pulsar clocks across the Milky Way.
  • Arrival Time Variations: The presence of gravity waves influenced the arrival times of signals from pulsars, producing tiny delays or advances.

The Importance of the Findings

  • Humming Signals: Nano-hertz signals created by gravity waves were found, allowing their presence in the universe to be identified.
  • Introducing a New Window: The team’s findings mark an important step forward in the investigation of the gravitational wave spectrum, bringing fresh insights into astrophysics.
  • Sensitivity and Timeframe: Due to their sluggish fluctuations, these elusive nano-hertz gravity waves necessitate sensitive telescopes such as GMRT and long-term observations.
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