Canadian Space Agency funds science investigations on the AstroSat mission

AstroSat. Credit: ISRO.

The Canadian Space Agency is providing $133k in funding to researchers at three universities for science investigations for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) AstroSat astronomy satellite.

According to the Canadian Space Agency the AstroSat is ISRO’s “first astronomy satellite dedicated to studying hot, high-energy objects in the universe like young stars and black holes.” The AstroSat satellite was launched on September 28, 2015.

Canada has contributed “sensitive detectors for the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UVIT) instrument on AstroSat.”

The funding went to:

  • University of Victoria: Dr. Patrick Côté is going to study galaxies in the Virgo Cluster to better understand star formation.
  • University of Calgary: Dr. Denis Leahy will use the data to catalogue individual hot stars and star clusters in M31 as well as investigate the structure of binary star system Hercules X-1.
  • University of Alberta: Dr. Erik Rosolowsky will map newly forming stars and their disruptive effect on star-forming dust clouds.
A near-ultraviolet image of galaxy NGC 2336 captured by the UVIT instrument on board India's AstroSat observatory. Located 105 million light-years away from Earth, the galaxy's spiral arms contain several nebulae: hot star-forming regions that shine brightly in this wavelength. Credit: UVIT team.
A near-ultraviolet image of galaxy NGC 2336 captured by the UVIT instrument on board India’s AstroSat observatory. Located 105 million light-years away from Earth, the galaxy’s spiral arms contain several nebulae: hot star-forming regions that shine brightly in this wavelength. Credit: UVIT team.

The CSA states on their website that Canada’s role is a “partnership with the National Research Council Canada, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) co-led the development of three Canadian detectors for the UVIT instrument, AstroSat’s twin ultraviolet (UV) and visible imaging telescopes. ‘This is a technology that Canada had never developed before,’ says Dr. John Hutchings of the National Research Council Canada, the principal investigator for Canada’s contribution. ‘The detectors capture each photon of light as it arrives and record its location and time of arrival. These are then stored, and an image is created. The UVIT telescopes are far more capable than those flown previously, and can observe far larger areas of sky.'”

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20 years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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