Science and Technolgy Current Affairs - 2020

India’s first LIGO laboratory to come up in Hingoli, Maharashtra

India’s first LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) laboratory will be set up in Aundh in Hingoli district of Maharashtra.

It will be third such laboratory in the world and first outside the United States. The existing two laboratories are located in Hanford, Washington and in Livingston, Louisiana.

Key Facts

  • The site at Aundh in Hingoli district has been chosen for carrying out experiments on the ambitious LIGO project that proved existence of gravitational waves.
  • It was selected based on site researches conducted by scientists from Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • The setup of LIGO-India laboratory will involve construction of 8 km-long beam tube at ultra- high vaccum on a levelled terrain.
  • The Aundh site is suitable flat site for carrying out the experiments as the four kms strips require an unhindered straight and flat site for studying the lasers.
  • The LIGO-India laboratory will help to bring considerable opportunities in cutting edge technology for Indian industries.

Background

  • A MoU to set up the LIGO-India project was signed between the scientists from the US’ National Science Foundation (NSF) and India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the DST in April 2016.
  • Earlier in February 2016, the Union Cabinet had given its in-principle approval to the LIGO-India mega science proposal for research on gravitational waves.

For more Information: (i) Cabinet Approval (ii) India-US MoU (iii) Gravitational Waves

Three Earth-like planets discovered orbiting dwarf star

An international team of scientists have discovered a trio of Earth-like exoplanets using the TRAPPIST telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory.

These planets were found orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth and are likely comparable in size and temperature to Earth and Venus.

Key facts

  • Scientists have named the ultra-cool dwarf star 2MASS J23062928-0502285 (also known as TRAPPIST-1). It is located in the constellation of Aquarius (The Water Carrier).
  • TRAPPIST-1 is about one eighth the size of the Sun (barely larger than Jupiter) and significantly cooler.
  • The three planets were found to orbit very close to their host dwarf star. Two of the exoplanets have orbital periods of about 2.4 days and 1.5 days respectively. The third planet has a less well-determined orbital period in the range 4.5 to 73 days.
  • The inner two planets only receive four times and twice the amount of radiation received by the Earth respectively.
  • The third outer planet probably receives less radiation that of the Earth receives but its orbit is not yet well known and maybe lying within the habitable zone.

Exoplanet: It is a planet that does not orbit the Sun and instead orbits a different star, stellar remnant, or brown dwarf. It is also termed as extrasolar planet.