Indian astronomers detect huge optical flare in one of the oldest astronomical objects – BL Lacertae blazar: In a major achievement that can help analyse and lead to probing of mysteries and tracing of events at different stages of the Universe’s evolution, Indian astronomers have reported one of the strongest flares from a feeding super massive black hole or blazar called BL Lacertae. In a notification on Saturday the Department of Science and Technology said that the analysis of Indian astronomers’ report can help trace the source of emission and mass of the black hole.
Blazars, or feeding super massive black holes in far off galaxies, are known for their complicated emission mechanism. And for this reason alone they are of particular interest to the astronomical community around the world. Blazars are one of the most energetic and luminous objects in the Universe and and they emit jets of charged particles travelling at nearly the speed of light.
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The statement says that BL Lacertae blazar is one among the 50 most prominent blazars which can be observed with the help of a relatively small telescope. BL Lacertae blazar is located 10 million light-years away. The Whole Earth Blazar Telescope (WEBT), an international consortium of astronomers, had predicted that the BL Lacertae blazar is among the three or four blazars to be experiencing flares, the statement added.
On January 16 an exceptionally high flare had been detected by a team of astronomers led by Dr Alok Chandra Gupta from Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), and institute of the Department of Science & Technology. Dr Gupta and his team have been following the BL Lacertae blazar since October 2020 and on January 16 this year they detected the exceptionally high flare with the help of Sampurnanand Telescope (ST) and 1.3m Devasthal Fast Optical Telescopes located in Nainital.