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2-Minute Series

FOR PRELIMS 2019


SCI & TECH
COMPILATION

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INDEX
Topics Page No.

1. Science of Country Liquor 3

2. All About Neutrinos 4

3. Fluorescent Ink 5

4. Lunar Probes 6

5. Mirage 2000 (Air Strike) 7

6. QRSAM (Air Defence System) 8

7. Faser 9

8. Dark Energy & Dark Matter 10

9. Science of Love - I 11

10. Science of Love - II 12 – 13

11. Science of Love - III 14

12. Mission Shakti 15

13. Convex Mirrors 16

14. Lagrange Points 17

15. Neutron Stars 18

16. Image of Black Hole 19 – 20

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Science of Country Liquor
 INTRODUCTION
o Alcoholic beverages are made by fermentation of sugary and starchy substances,
followed by distillation to increase alcohol concentration
o Active ingredient in them is ethyl alcohol or ethanol
o Any alcoholic beverage made under unlicensed conditions is called illicit liquor
 Usually substandard raw material is used, often this is spiked with other
chemicals
 WHAT MAKES IT POISONOUS?
o Under unregulated conditions, methanol or methyl alcohol can be produced with the
desired ethanol
o Sometimes, industrial methyl alcohol or denatured spirit (mixture of ethanol and
methanol) added by illicit brewers to save costs and in mistaken belief that it‘ll increase
potency
o There have been incidents where chemicals like organo-phosphrous compounds have
been added to illicit liquor
o Methyl alcohol is extremely toxic — 10 ml can cause blindness and 30 ml can cause
death within 10 to 30 hours
 It is like ethyl alcohol in taste and smell
 ANTIDOTES
o Ethyl alcohol and fomepizole are antidotes, inhibiting metabolising of methyl alcohol so
that it passes through urine
o Sodium bicarbonate used for acidosis
o Advanced treatment requires haemodialysis to remove toxic substances from bloodstream

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All About Neutrinos
 INTRODUCTION
o Characteristics
 Tiny elementary particle
 Very small mass
 No charge and spin half
 Not a part of the atom
 Interact very little with the matter around them
 Neutral particles which cannot be attracted by the magnets
 Origin
o Sun (solar neutrinos) and other stars — Low energy
o Cosmic rays from beyond the solar system
o From Big Bang
o Can also be produced in the lab
 Extra Facts
o Neutrino Oscillation: Change of neutrino from one flavour (type) [electron, tau and
muon] to another
o Cerenkov radiation: Tiny spark of electromagnetic radiation, given off by high energy
charged particles such as electrons when they pass through water or liquid
 They have nothing to do with radioactive substances
 Neutrinos cannot give Cerenkov radiation since they are not charged

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Fluorescent Ink
 About the Ink
o Formulated by National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology
(CSIRNIIST), Thiruvananthapuram
o It is fast-drying fluorescent ink that retains over 70% photoluminescence intensity even at
the end of one month
 26% drop within 1 hour of printing and further drop of 2% in 2 hours
 No reduction in emission intensity seen after 3 hours
o Dried ink containing the dye is cream in colour under visible light but turns green when
exposed to ultraviolet light, regaining its colour when the UV light is cut
o Fluorescent dye (fluorescein) encapsulated within double-layered silica nanospheres (70-
80 nanometers in size) and it dries quickly at room temperature
 Due to double-layered encapsulation, dye is largely protected from dispersants,
solvents and binders present in the ink —> less likelihood of reduction of
photoluminescence
 Prevent cluster formation
 Applications
o Anti-counterfeiting
o information storage
o bio-imaging
o Smart packaging
o Nano-electronics

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Lunar Probes
 Chang’e-4
o No country has ever landed a space probe on Moon‘s far side, which is never visible from
Earth
o nded over a special location called Van Karman crater (thought to be a section of exposed
lunar mantle) in the South Pole-Aitken basin
o The rover it carries is named Yutu
 It carries silkworm eggs and plant seeds in a tiny enclosed experiment, to see how
the fare growing on the Moon
o Difference between near-side and far-side
 Crust is much thicker on the far side
 Near side is dominated topographically by the presence of large basins that have
been filed with basaltic lava flows, making it relatively flat and smooth
 Far side‘s surface generally looks rougher
o It is a follow-on and virtual copy of the successful Chang‘e-3 mission which landed in
the Mare Imbrium on Moon‘s near side in 2013

 Chandrayaan-2
o India‘s second mission to the Moon
o Totally indigenous mission comprising of an Orbiter, Lander and Rover
o It will carry 6-wheeled rover (Pragyan) which will move around the landing site in semi-
autonomous mode as decided by ground commands
 It will observe the lunar surface and will be useful for analysis of the lunar soil
o It weighs around 3290 kg

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Mirage 2000 (Air Strike)
 Mirage 2000
o Manufactured by Dassault Aviation, the French Company that also manufactures Rafale
Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircrafts
o These were also used in the Kargil war
o It was first commissioned in 1985
o Named Vajra by IAF
o They have a night vision-capable glass cockpit and IFF (identify friend or foe) systems,
advanced multi-mode multi-layered radar and fully integrated electronic warfare suite
o The plane weighs 7500 kg and has a total takeoff weight of 17000 kg
o It has a maximum speed of Mach 2.2
o Apart from India, Dassault sold the Mirage 2000 to 8 countries, including France, Egypt,
UAE, Peru, Taiwan, Greece and Brazil
 Netra AEW&CS
o Multisensor indigenously developed by DRDO in collaboration with CAB (Centre for
Airborne Systems)
o Used in the attack to monitor the movement of Pakistan Air Force jets ad anti-aircraft
radars installed across the LoC
o It can track targets 450-500 km deep into enemy territory without crossing LoC — it has
an almost 120 degree view of enemy territory
o It doesn‘t carry any active cameras but all the electronic intelligence it gathers can be
beamed back live to commanders on the ground

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QRSAM (Air Defence System)

 QRSAM
o India tested a short range Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile
o Developed by DRDO, it can engage multiples targets from a range of 5 km to 30 km
o It will replace ‗Akash‘ missile defence system
o Different from normal air defence system as this is an all-weather, all-terrain missile with
electronic counter measures against jamming by aircraft radars
o It is equipped with a 360 degree rotatable, electronic-mechanically operated, turret-based
launch unit
o It can be mounted on a truck and is stored in a canister
o It is also capable of tracking
o Uses sold-fuel propellant
o The mobile air defence system has the ability to destroy targets like fighter jets, missiles
of short range and cruise missiles
o The uniqueness of the QRSAM is that the weapon system can be deployed in harsh
environments, is easily transportable and can carry nuclear or biological payloads
o In addition it is equipped with night vision devices and a sophisticated navigation system
that makes its ‗kill capability‘ very high
 Akash Missile Defense System
o Indigenously designed medium-range surface-to-air missile defence system
o It can fly at supersonic speeds, ranging from Mach 2.8 to 3.5 and engage aerial targets up
to a range of 30 km and at altitudes up to 18km
o It is multi-target, multi-directional, all weather air-defence system
o Shortcomings: Neither does it have requisite 360 degree coverage, nor the 3-4 second
reaction time th Army wants. It has a large radar ground signature with several vehicles
required for its missile launchers, multi-function radars etc.

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Faser

 Faser
o New experiment at CERN that is designed to look for light and weakly interacting
particles at Large Hadron Collider
o It works as a part of the Physics Beyond Collider (PBC)
o It will complement CERN‘s ongoing physics programme, extending its discovery
potential to several new particles
o Some of these sought-after particles are associated with dark matter, which is
hypothesised kind of matter that does not interact with the electromagnetic force and
consequently cannot be directly detected using emitted light
o Astrophysical evidence shows that dark matter makes up about 27% of the universe but it
has never been observed or studied in laboratory
o The 4 main LHC detectors are not suited for detecting the light and weakly interacting
particles that might be produced parallel to the beam line
 They may travel hundreds of metres without interacting with any material before
transforming into known and detectable particles, such as electrons and positrons
 FASER will therefore be located along the beam trajectory downstream from the
interaction point within ATLAS
o Although the protons in the particles beams will be bent by magnets around the LHC, the
light very weakly interacting particles will continue along a straight line and their ‗decay
products‘ can be spotted by FASER
o FASER will search for a suite of hypothesised particles including so-called ―dark
protons‖, particles which are associated with dark matter, neutralinos and others

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Dark Energy & Dark Matter
 INTRODUCTION
o Galaxies are rotating with such speed that the gravity generated by this observable
matter could not possibly hold them together; they should have torn themselves long
ago. This leads scientists to believe that something we cannot see is at work
o They think something we have yet to detect directly is giving these galaxies, extra
mass, generating the extra gravity they need to stay intact. This strange and unwon
matter was called ―dark matter‖ since it is not visible
 Dark Matter
o Unlike normal matter, it doesn‘t interact with the electromagnetic force
o It does not absorb, reflect or emit light, making it extremely hard to spot
o Scientists are able to infer its existence only from the gravitation effect it seems to have
on visible matter
o It seems to outweigh visible matter roughly six to one, making up about 27% of the
universe
 The matter we know and that makes up all stars and galaxies only accounts for
5%
o Scientists are trying to produce dark matter particles at the Large Hadron Collider
 Even if produced they would escape the detectors unnoticed
 Dark Matter
o It makes up approximately 68% of the universe and appears to be associated with the
vacuum in space
o It is distributed evenly throughout the universe, not only in space but also in time
 Its effect is not diluted as the universe expands
o Even distribution means that dark energy does not have any local gravitational effects,
but rather a global effect on the universe as a whole
 This leads to a repulsive force, which tends to accelerate the expansion of the
universe
o The measurements by Hubble law and with other scientific data have confirmed the
existence of dark energy

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Science of Love - I
 INTRODUCTION
o Among people who are in passionate romantic love, when they are focussing on the
object of their affection, the region of the brain called the caudate nucleus becomes
highly active
o When two people fall in love deeply, the brain‘s pleasure centres are activated, causing
the release of hormones like dopamine and serotonin effecting mood swings,
sleeplessness, increased heartbeat, and loss of appetite
 Stages of Love
o Stage 1: Lust
o Stage II: Attraction
o Stage III: Attachment
 First Stage: Lust
o Driven by sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen — in both male and female
o Testosterone is not confined to men only; it plays a major role in the sex drive of
women as well
o Testosterone helps bring on the physical changes that turn a boy into a man. This time
of life is called puberty
 The brain and pituitary gland control production of testosterone by the testes
 Testosterone levels are highest in the morning and lowest at night
o Oestrogen
 One of the main female sex hormones
 Both women and men produce the same but it plays a bigger role in women‘s
bodies
 Oestrogen levels are highest in the middle of cycle, and lowest during period

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Science of Love - II
 INTRODUCTION
o Very commonly, the lovers think they have a relationship of being closer and more
special than anyone else‘s. Such a feeling makes individuals to stay together
o In attraction, a group of neurotransmitters, namely dopamine, adrenaline, serotonin, and
endorphin play an important rule
o Couples in loves possess high levels of the dopamine — it stimulates ‗desire and
reward‘ by triggering an intense feeling of pleasure
o Couples with surging dopamine tend to have increased energy, less need for sleep or
food, focussed attention and exquisite delight in smallest details of the novel
relationship
o While dopamine is a 'feel-good‘ hormone, causing high attention, improved short-term
memory, elation, boldness and temporary desire to explore and take risk, it tends to
cause addiction
o Another hormone called prolactin is immediately released after dopamine wears off,
causing the opposite effects, like depletion, irritation and depression
o When prolactin is high, dopamine is low and vice-versa. In the long run, this cycle of
‗high and low‘ affects the stability of the whole body, destabilises the nervous system
and lowers immunity, thus increasing vulnerability and speeding up cell ageing

o A fall in dopamine level makes individuals tired and depleted. Dopamine is double-
edged; along with intense pleasure it causes addiction
o In fact, it turns a habit into addiction depending on frequency and dosage
 Adrenaline
o The initial stages of falling for someone activate the stress response, increasing the
blood levels of adrenaline and cortisol
o It is produced by adrenal glands during exciting situations or high stress
o It is part of the human body‘s acute stress response system
o It works by stimulating the heart rate, contracting blood vessels, and dilating air
passages, all of which work to increase blood flow to the muscles and oxygen to the
lungs
 Serotonin
o It is one of the most important chemicals that might explain why one falls in love
o Attraction, really changes the way individuals think. By analysing blood samples from
the lovers, they discovered that serotonin levels in new lovers are equivalent to the low
serotonin levels of ‗obsessive-compulsive disorder‘ patients
 Endorphins
o Neurotransmitters which function to transmit electrical signals within the nervous
system
o They are released when the body feels pain
o They can be found in pituitary gland, in other parts of the brain, or distributed
throughout the nervous system

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o Stress and pain are the two most common factors leading to the release of endorphins
and they interact with the opiate receptors in the brain to reduce pain
o Its release varies from individual to individual — two people who exercise at the same
level or suffer the same degree of pain will not necessarily produce similar levels of
endorphins
o Certain foods like chocolate or chilli-pepper can also lead to enhanced secretion of
endorphins

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Science of Love - III
 INTRODUCTION
o Scientists think there might be two major hormones involved in the feeling of
attachment
 Oxytocin and Vasopressin
o Oxytocin is a mammalian neurohypophysial hormone (secreted by the posterior
pituitary gland), that acts primarily as a neuromodulator in the brain that makes a
neutron use one or more chemicals to regulate diverse populations of neurons
o It plays an important role in the neuro-anatomy of intimacy, specifically in sexual
reproduction, in particular during and after child-birth
o It is released in large amounts after distension of the cervix and uterus during labour,
facilitating birth, maternal bonding, stimulation of nipples and lactation
o Childbirth and milk ejection result from a positive feedback mechanism caused by this
hormone
o It deepens the feeling of attachment and makes couples feel much closer to one another
and also seems to help cement the strong bond between mother and baby
o The hormone influences various behaviours, social recognition, pair bonding, anxiety
and material instincts — referred to as the 'bonding hormone'
o There is a dark side to this hormone; while effecting positive behaviours of trust and
bonding, oxytocin can also cause opposite behaviours like jealously, envy and
suspicion
o Oxytocin triggers and amplifies social feelings of all types, not just the positive, feel-
good ones
o It has peripheral actions also in the brain. The peripheral actions of the hormone mainly
reflect secretion from pituitary gland
o Its action are mediated by specific, high-affinity oxytocin receptors
o Actions of the hormone include
 Maternal behaviour
 Reflex actions
 Uterine contraction
 Wound healing
 Sexual response
o Oxytocin may be important for inhibition of the brain regions associated with
behavioural control, fear and anxiety
o It functions to protect against stresses; it can alleviate mood and reduce stress with good
efficiency

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Mission Shakti
 INTRODUCTION
o It is to defend India‘s space assets and not to start any arms race in space
o India has shot down a low-earth orbit satellite in space
 Low-earth orbit (LEO) is located at altitudes between 200 and 2000 km
 Objects in LEO move faster than Earth and an interceptor needs to have a
velocity of 8 km per second or more to hit an LEO satellite
o The ASAT technology was indigenously developed by India and DRDO‘s Ballistic
Missile Defence interceptor was used for the same
o The new technologies incorporated include an advanced navigation system called Ring
Laser Gyrospcope and Infrared Imaging Radar (IIR) seeker that helps the missile home-
in on the target satellite
o The interceptor was a three-stage missile with two solid rocket boosters
o Since there are no treaties governing the use of ASAT (Anti-Satellite) missiles, India is
not in violation of any international conventions
o ASAT technology has so far been in the hands of very few countries: the United States,
Russia and China
o The test was done in the lower atmosphere to ensure that there is no space debris.
Whatever debris that is generated will decay and fall back onto the earth within weeks
o India is a party to all the major international treaties relating to Outer Space and has
been participating in all sessions of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer
Space
o India supported UNGA resolution 69/32 on No First Placement of Weapons on Outer
Space
o India supports the substantive consideration of the issue of Prevention of an Arms Race
in Outer Space (PAROS) in the Conference on Disarmament where it has been on the
agenda since 1982
o The principal international Treaty on space is the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. India is a
signatory to this treaty, and ratified it in 1982. The Outer Space Treaty prohibits only
weapons of mass destruction in outer space, not ordinary weapon

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Convex Mirrors
 Convex Mirrors
o A convex mirror is also known as diverging mirror or the fish eye mirror
o The reflective surface of the convex mirror bulges towards the light source. Convex
mirrors reflect the light falling on them outwards
 Farther the distance smaller the image
o The image of the object formed by a convex mirror is always virtual, diminished,
upright and behind the mirror
o Also the image formed is smaller than the actual size of the object. Thus, major uses of
convex mirror are in the areas where bigger objects are to be viewed easily and in
smaller size
 Uses
o Convex mirrors are used inside buildings: Large hospitals, offices or stores sometimes
make use of convex mirrors in order to let people see what is around a corner to avoid
people running into each other and prevent minor/major collisions
o They are used in sunglasses: Convex mirrors are also used in making lenses of
sunglasses. This is done to help reflect the light of sun away from the eyes of the person
wearing the sunglasses
o Convex mirrors are used in vehicles: They are used as a rear view mirror in vehicles
because the mirror can diverge a beam of light and makes a virtual image. And as the
focal length and radius of curvature of the convex mirror are virtual the image is always
produced up the right way and that too smaller in size than the actual size of the object.
So the mirror is able to give a wide view of the field
o Use in magnifying glass: Two convex mirrors are placed back to back in order to make
a magnifying class
o Use of convex mirror in securities: convex mirrors are placed near ATM‘s so as to
allow the bank customers to check if someone is behind them. This is a measure of
security taken which helps in keeping customer‘s using ATMs safe from robberies of
cash withdrawals or other valuables or even their cards along with the pin number. This
also keeps the identity of ATM user‘s secure
o Convex mirrors use also used as street light reflectors because they are able to spread
light over a bigger area
o They are also used for inspection purposes for places where it is difficult to reach. For
this, the mirrors are mounted on an appropriately sized rod and are extended with lights
under the object that is to be viewed, common examples for this are appliances or car
repair, clocks etc.
o They are also put on corners of roads so that you can see any cars coming to avoid
collisions
o They are also used in reflecting type telescopes
o Another use of convex mirrors is as ceiling dome mirrors

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Lagrange Points
 Lagrange Points
o It is a location in space where combined gravitational forces of two large bodies, such
as Earth and the sun or Earth and the moon, equal the centrifugal force felt by a much
smaller third body
o The interaction of the forces creates a point of equilibrium where a spacecraft may be
‗parked‘ to make observations
o These are named after Joseph-Louis Lagrange, an 18th-century mathematician who
wrote about them in a paper concerning three-body problem
o There are 5 such points around major bodies such as a planet or a star
 Three of them lie along the line connecting the 2 large bodies
o L1 lies between Earth and the sun at about 1 million miles from Earth
 It gets an uninterrupted view of the sun
 Currently occupied by Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and Deep
Space Climate Observatory
o L2 lies a million miles from Earth, but in the opposite direction of the sun
 It is behind the Earth, the sun and the moon and. thus a spacecraft here can get a
clear view of deep space
 NASA‘s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) is at this spot
measuring the cosmic background radiation left over from the Big Bang. The
James Webb Space Telescope will also occupy this region
 Uses
 L3 lies behind the sun, opposite Earth‘s orbit
 For now science has not found a use for this point because it remains hidden
behind the sun at all times
o L1, L2 and L3 are all unstable points with precarious equilibrium. If a spacecraft drifted
toward or away from Earth, it would fall irreversibly toward the sun or Earth
o Points L4 and L5, however, are stable
 These points lie along Earth‘s orbit at 60 degrees ahead of and behind Earth,
forming the apex of two equilateral triangles that have the large masses (Earth
and the sun, for example) as their vertices
 Because of the stability at these points, dust and asteroids tend to accumulate in
these regions

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Neutron Stars
 INTRODUCTION
o Formed when a massive star runs out of fuel and collapses
 Very central region of the star – the core – collapses, crushing together every
proton and electron into a neutron
o The collapse leaves behind the most dense object known
o Since neutrons stars began their existence as stars, they are found scattered throughout
the galaxy in the same places where we find stars
o Many neutrons stars are likely undetectable because they simply do not emit enough
radiation
 Pulsars
o Most neutron stars are observed as pulsars Pulsars are rotating neutron stars observed to
have pulses of radiation at very regular intervals that typically range from milliseconds
to seconds Pulsars have very strong magnetic fields which funnel jets of particles out
along the two magnetic poles
 These accelerated particles produce very powerful beams of light
o Often, the magnetic field is not aligned with the spin axis, so those beams of particles
and light are swept around as the star rotates
o When the beam crosses our line-of-sight, we see a pulse — in other words, we see
pulsars turn on and off as the beam sweeps over Earth
 Magnetars
o Another type of neutron star is called magnetar
o In a typical neutron star, the magnetic field is trillions of times that of the Earth's
magnetic field; however, in a magnetar, the magnetic field is another 1000 times
stronger
o In all neutron stars, the crust of the star is locked together with the magnetic field so
that any change in one affects the other
o The crust is under an immense amount of strain, and a small movement of the crust can
be explosive. But since the crust and magnetic field are tied, that explosion ripples
through the magnetic field
o In a magnetar, with its huge magnetic field, movements in the crust cause the neutron
star to release a vast amount of energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation

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Image of Black Hole
 INTRODUCTION
o Event Horizon Telescope has released the first direct image of a black hole
o The event horizon of a black hole is the ultimate boundary. Nothing from within it can
escape out
o The ring in the image is light from the gas falling into the event horizon, whose shadow
is the dark hole in the centre.
 The exact shape of the ring is due to the way the incredible gravity of the black
hole bends the light around it
o Matter is attracted by the gravity of a black hole, but cannot fall into it easily
 It forms a swirling disk around it, through which it spirals in to the black hole at
extremely high speed
 While doing so, matter gets heated to enormous temperatures, and this hot
magnetised plasma is what emits the intense radiation that we see
o Gravitation lensing: The gravity near the black hole is immense, it can bend the path of
the light rays from the surrounding magnetised plasma in peculiar ways. So even light
from the gas behind the black hole bends enough to reach us. This bending of light,
called Gravitation lensing, determines the final shape of the ring and the inner shadow
that EHT has imaged

o 230 GHz was that frequency that was observed


 At much lower frequencies, the inner region of the centre of M87 black
hole becomes more opaque and less bright. At higher frequencies, our own
atmosphere blocks much of the radiation from coming in
o A telescope large enough to image the shadow of the black hole would have to be as
big as the Earth itself. Using a technique called interferometry, data from many
telescopes spread across the Earth were combined to make images that show detail on
as fine as scale as would a single earth-sized telescope

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o India does not have a telescope working in the sub-mm wavelengths. Though India has
two of the world‘s largest radio telescopes (Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope near
Pune and Ooty Radio Telescope), they operate at centimetre and metre wavelengths and
will be completely blind at the shorter wavelengths of sub-mm

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