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Assam girl Barnali Das along with team leads to discovery of Radio Stars ‘hotter than the Sun’

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A researcher from Assam named Barnali Das rooting from Pathsala in Bajali district along with her supervisor Prof. Poonam Chandra and the team from National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) has discovered rare radio stars hotter than the sun.

About the discovery of Radio Stars

It was for the first time in 2020 when the team introduced the designation ‘Main-sequence Radio Pulse’ (MRP) in order to know the characteristics of those stars. Das and Chandra found that the star produces both left (LCP) and right circularly polarized vibrations.

What are MRPs?

The MRPs are stars hotter than the Sun with unusually strong magnetic fields, and much stronger than stellar wind (a continuous flow of gas from a star’s upper atmosphere). Due to this, they emit bright radio pulses like a lighthouse. 

Observations by Prof. Chandra

sun Barnali Das The North-Eastern Chronicle

Professor Chandra says that the cause for the difficult detection of MRPs was that the radio pulses are visible only at certain times and the phenomenon is mostly observable at low radio frequencies. 

She further adds that “The high sensitivity of the uGMRT and its ability to make high-resolution images have been instrumental in enabling the recovery of the pulsed signal from the different types of radiation coming from the sky. This, combined with a strategic observation campaign allowed the astronomers to overcome difficulties, and reveal the true nature of these objects. We found that magnetic field and temperature are two quantities that appear to play the major role in deciding how intense the radio pulse will be.”

Equipments used

The duo has performed the most extensive study of MRPs which was possible for they used an ultra-wide frequency range, using two of the world’s leading radio telescopes: the uGMRT and the U.S.-based Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA).

Current status

Describing these new discoveries a research paper has been recently accepted for publication in the prestigious Astrophysical Journal (ApJ).


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