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  Dec 21, 2023

India's First Winter Arctic Expedition: A Leap in Astronomical Research




Expedition Overview: The Raman Research Institute (RRI) in Bengaluru is participating in India's first winter expedition to the Arctic region, a significant milestone in India's scientific endeavors.

Technical Aspects and Objectives:

1. Radio Frequency Environment Study: The core focus is on characterizing the radio frequency environment in the Svalbard region, Norway. This study is crucial for assessing the suitability of the region for precision astronomy measurements.

2. Astronomical Research at Himadri Station: India's research station, Himadri, operational since 2008 in Svalbard, will be the base for this yearlong expedition.

3. Research Areas: The expedition spans multiple disciplines, including astronomy, climate change, and atmospheric science.

4. SARAS Project: RRI has been developing the SARAS (Shaped Antenna Measurement of the Background Radio Spectrum) experiments, targeting the study of the 21cm signal from cosmic dawn and the epoch of reionization.

Key Challenges and Significance:

Urbanization Impact: Growing urbanization has limited the scope for lowfrequency astronomical observations due to increased Radio Frequency Interference (RFI).

Potential for LowFrequency Radio Telescopes: If the Arctic region proves suitable, it could open avenues for deploying lowfrequency radio telescopes, enhancing cosmological studies.

Understanding Cosmic History: The 21cm signal study aims to shed light on the universe's early stages, including the formation of the first stars and galaxies.

Expedition Details:

Team Composition: Led by Girish B.S. from RRI's Electronics Engineering Group, the team comprises four scientists.

Funding and Support: The Earth Sciences Ministry funds the expedition, with the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, Goa, as the nodal agency.

Expedition Duration: The expedition is scheduled from December to January 15.

Conclusion: This winter Arctic expedition by the RRI team represents a pioneering effort in India's astronomical research, potentially contributing significantly to understanding the early universe and addressing the challenges posed by urbanization in astronomical studies.

SRIRAM’s


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