India's Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope Uncovers Vibrations of the Universe

India's Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope Uncovers Vibrations of the Universe
Posted on 30-06-2023

India's Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope Uncovers Vibrations of the Universe: Detection of Gravitational Waves and Pulsar Signals

India's Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) has been making headlines for its significant role in detecting vibrations in the universe, particularly the confirmation of gravitational waves through pulsar observations. The GMRT, operated by the National Centre of Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) and part of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), is the world's largest radio telescope operating at meter wavelengths.

The GMRT aims to investigate various radio astrophysical problems, ranging from nearby solar systems to the edge of the observable universe. Its objectives include detecting the redshifted spectral line of neutral Hydrogen from proto-clusters or protogalaxies in the early phase of the Universe and studying rapidly rotating Pulsars in our galaxy. Pulsars are rapidly rotating neutron stars that emit regular radio beams.

The significance of the GMRT lies in its unique capabilities, operating within the frequency bandwidth of 100 MHz to 1,500 MHz. Scientists from over 30 countries, along with Indian researchers, highly value this facility. One of the key contributions of the GMRT is understanding the evolution of galaxies over cosmic time by tracing the evolution of neutral gas through atomic hydrogen emissions.

Gravitational waves, which are ripples in space-time caused by violent and energetic cosmic processes, have also been a subject of interest. These waves were predicted by Albert Einstein in his general theory of relativity in 1916. They are produced by cataclysmic events such as colliding black holes, supernovae, and neutron star collisions. However, gravitational waves are incredibly weak and challenging to detect due to their weak interaction with matter.

In recent studies by the Indian Pulsar Timing Array (InPTA) and European Pulsar Timing Array (EPTA), time aberrations were observed in signals from pulsars, which are neutron stars emitting regular radio signals. These signals, often referred to as cosmic clocks, provide valuable information about the universe. By analyzing the signals from various pulsars, scientists create a virtual galactic-scale gravitational wave detector. The detection of nano-hertz signals, also known as nano-hertz gravitational waves, suggests the presence of colliding pairs of massive black holes.

The detection of these gravitational waves and the identification of signal irregularities from pulsars contribute to our understanding of the universe and its mysteries. Powerful radio telescopes, such as the GMRT, play a crucial role in capturing and analyzing these signals, enabling us to delve deeper into the secrets of the cosmos.

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