Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) – All You Need To Know

Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) – All You Need To Know

Featured image source: https://www.skatelescope.org/news/indias-gmrt-telescope-becomes-ska-pathfinder/

Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope, known as GMRT is name of one of the ambitious project in Indian science history carried out by National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (part of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research). It is a world leading observatory in radio astronomy. GMRT is specialized at low frequency part of radio sky. For certain frequency ranges, GMRT is the most sensitive radio telescope in the world. GMRT is used by aerospace research organizations like NASA, ISRO, ESA & many more. NASA’s famous project ‘Mars Rover’ is used GMRT telescopes capabilities to control & exchange messages/signals. Besides this, GMRT is already used in many astrophysics projects and explored many interesting areas of astrophysics.

GMRT is a huge technical achievement conceived and engineered by Indians, is filling an important gap in knowledge of the radio spectrum. It is built to investigate a variety of outstanding astrophysical problems in modern astronomy and cosmology. It is one of the most challenging project in basic sciences undertaken by Indian scientists and engineers. Highlight of this project was that it was built in low cost and it was possible because a design concept invented by Indian scientists and engineers. It is called SMART (Stretch Mesh Attached to Rope Trusses).

GMRT project completed in 1995 under observation of renowned radio astronomer Prof.Govind Swarup who was given responsility as project director. GMRT is located at Khodad village which is around 80 kilometers away from Pune on Pune-Nashik national highway.

GMRT is an array of 30 parabolic antennas (Dishes) which are distributed around 25 kilometers of area. Out of 30, 12 dishes are centrally located in random fashion in 1 square kilometer and rent of 18 dishes are spread out along the three arms of a Y-shaped array with each arm is approximately 14 kilometers in length.

Antenna Configuration of GMRT

Recent highlights

  • GMRT detected very weak radio signals from a space probe sent to Mars by the European Space Agency (ESA). Earliar GMRT was selected as Earth-based observatory to provide ground support for the ESA’s ExoMars mission aiming to explore various properties of Mars. Source
  • GMRT given as SKA pathfinder status in World’s most largest telescope project which is about to complete in 2024. As a part of this, GMRT is undergoing a major scientific and technical upgrade which will improve its sensitivty. Most of the upgrade activities are carried out in sync with SKA project team. GMRT will provide valuable feedback to the teams designing the SKA. Source

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