Current Affairs - January 2017

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Vampire star caught in the act by ASTROSAT

India’s first dedicated space observatory, ASTROSAT has captured the rare phenomenon of a small six-billion-year-old vampire star preying on a bigger celestial body.

The vampire star phenomenon is observed when smaller star sucks material (mass and energy) out of the bigger companion star, causing its eventual death.

It is also called a blue straggler as small star becomes bigger, hotter and bluer, giving it the appearance of being young, while the ageing companion burns out and collapses to a stellar remnant.

About ASTROSAT

  • Astrosat is India’s first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory launched in September 2015. It is one of the major scientific missions of ISRO after the highly acclaimed Chandrayaan-I and Mangalyaan.
  • It is placed at low earth equatorial orbit at altitude of 650 km. It has ability to observe celestial bodies like cosmic X-Ray sources and distant stars in different wavelengths simultaneously.
  • It can observe the universe through ultraviolet, optical, low and high energy X-ray components of the electromagnetic spectrum. It has mission life of 5 years.
  • Its successful launch made India member of select elite group of nations comprising US, Japan, Russia and Europe having its own space observatory.

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Government Constitutes Task Force to prepare Action Plan for Next three Olympic Games

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the constitution of eight members Task Force committee for preparing action plan for next three Olympic Games 2020, 2024 and 2028.

It has been given three months’ time to submit its report regarding a comprehensive action plan including short, medium and long-term measures for effective participation of Indian sports-persons in the Olympic games.

 The members of Task force: Pulella Gopichand, Abhinav Bindra, Rajesh Kalra, Om Pathak, Viren Rasquinha, S. Baldev Singh, Prof. G.L. Khanna and Sandeep Pradhan.

Terms of Reference of Task Force
  • Suggest a comprehensive action plan for effective participation of Indian sportspersons in the next three Olympic Games.
  • Suggest effective methods to identify core probable medal prospects for 2020 Olympics, their coaches and support staff.
  • Suggest effective talent identification system for 2024 and 2028 Olympics. Identify components of world class support system for elite sportspersons and lay down further the pathway.
  • Suggest ways to achieve synergy in the efforts of key stakeholders within Union Government and across State Governments, Indian Olympic Association (IOA), National Sports Federations, NGOs, etc.
  • Suggest ways to significantly improve the standards of coaching and sports scientist within the country and to create and upgrade sports infrastructure required to train top-level athletes.
  • Make suggestion regarding foreign training and exposure of top-level athletes and also make recommendations on any other matters referred to it.

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