India develops low-cost optical spectrograph

Scientists from India designed and developed a low-cost optical spectrograph, which can locate sources of faint light from distant quasars and galaxies in a very young universe, cosmic explosions and regions around super-massive black hole around the galaxies.

The Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational sciences (ARIES), Nainital, designed and developed the “Made in India” optical spectrograph named Aries-Devasthal Faint Object Spectrograph and Camera (ADFOSC).

Such spectroscopes were until now imported from abroad at high cost. The ADFOSC comes at about 2.5 times less cost compared to the imported ones and can locate sources of light with a photon-rate as low as about one photon per second.

The spectroscope is the largest of its kind among the existing astronomical spectrographs in the country. It is commissioned on the 3.6-m Devasthal Optical Telescope (DOT), the largest in the country and in Asia, near Nainital Uttarakhand. The total cost of the instrument is about Rs. Four Crore.

Dr. Amitesh Omar, scientist at ARIES, led this project. The spectrograph is used to study distant 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 Director, Dipankar Banerje said that the efforts to build complex instruments like ADFOSC were an important step to become ‘Aatmanirbhar’ in the field of astronomy and astrophysics. ARIES also plans to commission more complex instruments such as spectro-polarimeter and high spectral resolution spectrograph on the 3.6-m Devasthal telescope.



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