Scientists for the first time have observed Optical polarisation phenomenon (polarised light emitted by rapidly rotating stars) after it was predicted by Indian astrophysicist and Nobel laureate Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar 70 years ago.
Optical polarisation phenomenon is a measure of the orientation of the oscillations of a light beam to its direction of travel.
The phenomenon was observed using High Precision Polarimetric Instrument (HIPPI), world’s most sensitive astronomical polarimeter to detect polarised light from Regulus( the brightest star in the constellation of Leo), one of brightest stars in night sky about 79 light years away.
The equipment provided unprecedented insights into the star, which is in constellation Leo. It allowed scientists to determine its rate of spinning and orientation in space of star’s spin axis. It was observed that Regulus is rotating so quickly with a spin rate of 96.5% of angular velocity (approximately 320 kilometres per second) for the break-up.