Updated February 13th, 2024 at 16:25 IST

POLIX on ISRO’s XPoSat Begins Observations to Study Pulsars, Black Holes, & Other Cosmic Phenomena

The observations produced a pulse profile of the Crab pulsar, confirming the functionality of the XPoSat's instrument.

Digital Desk
POLIX onboard XPoSat commences its observations | Image:ISRO

Bengaluru: The Indian X-ray Polarimeter (POLIX) onboard India's X-ray polarimetry mission, XPoSat, has undergone activation, and the instrument, developed by the X-ray Astronomy Laboratory at Raman Research Institute in Bengaluru, has begun its scientific observations, according to ISRO’s official statement. 

Previously, during January 15–18, POLIX conducted observations of the Crab Pulsar, a rapidly spinning star located near the centre of the Crab Nebula.

The observations produced a pulse profile of the Crab pulsar, confirming the functionality of the POLIX instrument. This pulse profile, representing the first of its kind in its energy range, as per ISRO, will provide insights into the pulsating behaviour of the star. The plot generated by POLIX will also demonstrate  the time window of X-rays emitted by the Crab pulsar, with the X-axis indicating the time for two pulses, totaling about 67 milliseconds. Additionally, the plot includes data on non-pulsed emission components from the Pulsar Wind Nebula surrounding the pulsar.


POLIX's successful activation and initial observations are an important achievement for the mission. The Indian Space Agency expects POLIX, the only payload offering data in its energy band, to contribute insights into the study of pulsars, black holes, and other astronomical phenomena. The instrument's ability to detect the polarisation of X-rays from celestial sources also adds to its scientific importance.

The development of POLIX speaks to India's growing capabilities in space science and technology. The instrument has been designed and developed indigenously with support from the Indian industry. The successful activation of POLIX paves the way for further scientific investigations using XPoSat.


Alongside POLIX, the XSPECT instrument onboard XPoSat is also ready for observations, ISRO’s statement added.



Published February 13th, 2024 at 16:25 IST