Israeli telescopes to explore space on Indian satellite
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Israeli telescopes to explore space on Indian satellite

Friday, 26 December 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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BANGALORE: The space agencies of India and Israel signed an agreement here Thursday to send three telescopes built by Tel Aviv University into space on an Indian satellite for a series of complex experiments.

The wide-field telescopes, known as Tauvex, will travel into space on board the Geo-Synchronous Satellite-4 (GSAT-4) of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The indigenously built GSAT-4 is scheduled for launch during 2005.

ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair and Israel Space Agency (ISA) director general Aby Har-Even signed the memorandum of understanding in the presence of Israeli Science and Technology Minister Eliezer Sandberg and top space scientists of both countries.

"The demonstrator GSAT-4 will incorporate Tauvex along with ISRO's own communication experiments," the agreement said.

The Tauvex set of telescopes will image the sky in the ultraviolet spectrum. This will help in solving astrophysical questions related to star formation, history of galaxies and physics of black holes.

Its scientific data will be useful for Indian scientists in analysing data from India's astronomy satellite, Astrosat, to be launched in 2004. Astrosat will carry an ultraviolet imaging telescope, besides other instruments.

Tel Aviv University research astronomers Noah Brosch, Hagai Netzer and Elia Leibowitz conceived Tauvex in the 1980s.

Tauvex can steer other space telescopes such as the Hubble of the US to selected objects.

In 1991, ISA adopted a concept of including Tauvex among telescopes of a major international space observatory (Spectrum X-Gamma) whose construction was undertaken by the Russian space agency.

Tauvex would have provided the space observatory with a spectral extension from X-rays to ultraviolet and stabilised the observatory to a high degree of accuracy.

Budgetary constraints of the Russian space agency, however, delayed the launch and setting up of the space observatory.

The Indian Institute of Astrophysics in Bangalore is preparing a set of ultraviolet telescopes for Astrosat.

Tauvex is built by Electro-Optical Industries with funding from the Israeli government.

Source: IANS
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