Indian Astronomical Observatory Observes BL Lacertae

The Indian Astronomical Observatory, situated in Hanle, Ladakh, has established a remarkable partnership with 10 international telescopes. Together, they have embarked on an ambitious mission to observe and study the phenomenon of BL Lacertae (BL Lac), a blazar located approximately 950 million light-years away from Earth.

Unveiling the Fascinating Blazar

Blazars are a distinct type of galaxy that derives its immense power from a massive black hole. Known for their extraordinary brightness and the emission of highly energetic particles, blazars stand as some of the most captivating objects in the universe. Astronomers have been captivated by their dynamic nature, making them a subject of great interest.

Decades of Observation

The study of BL Lacertae has a rich history. It was first discovered almost a century ago and has since gradually approached its maximum brightness. Scientists, led by post-doctoral fellow Aditi Agarwal from the Raman Research Institute, have embarked on an in-depth examination of this extraordinary blazar.

Exploring the Spectrum of Emissions

To shed light on BL Lac’s behavior, the research team utilized a global network of telescopes to capture electromagnetic emissions across a wide range of wavelengths. These observations encompassed radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, optical light, ultraviolet radiation, X-rays, and even gamma rays. The vast array of data collected from this comprehensive study offers valuable insights into the blazar’s characteristics and behavior.

A Multitude of Telescopes

During this extensive research endeavor, a total of 11 telescopes were aimed at BL Lacertae. Among them was the Himalayan Chandra Telescope, located at the Hanle site in Ladakh. These telescopes provided invaluable observations for a remarkable duration of 84 days, enabling researchers to closely monitor the blazar’s behavior and fluctuations in brightness.

Maximum Brightness and Magnetic Field Calculations

As the observations progressed, it became evident that BL Lacertae was gradually growing brighter, indicating increased activity. On August 21, 2020, BL Lacertae reached its maximum brightness, a significant milestone captured by the Modified Dall-Kirkham telescope situated in Kraków, Poland. The team of researchers also calculated the magnetic field of BL Lacertae during the flare, which ranged from 7.5 Gauss to 76.3 Gauss.

A Gateway to Future Exploration

This study’s findings provide critical parameters for future multispectral investigations of BL Lacertae. The availability of vast datasets obtained from the telescopes involved in the study enabled the calculation of these essential parameters. By characterizing the performance and behavior of BL Lacertae, scientists are unlocking new frontiers in understanding the complexities of blazars.




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