Syllabus: Prelims : Environment


Why in News?

  • Study develops method to detect all amphibian chytrid fungus strains.

About Chytridiomycosis

  • Fungal Disease: Amphibian chytridiomycosis is a fatal fungal disease caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, affecting amphibians worldwide. It primarily affects the skin and has led to population declines and extinctions.

More Information

  • Chytrid originated in Asia and spread globally due to global travel and trade in amphibians.
  • The disease caused population declines and species extinctions, serving as a precedent for the threat of infectious diseases to biodiversity.
  • Chytrid primarily affects frog species, leading to the wiping out of 90 species.
  • The fungus reproduces in the frogs’ skin, damaging their ability to balance water and salt levels, eventually resulting in death.
  • Chytrid is considered the deadliest animal disease due to its high mortality rate and the large number of species it affects.
  • Frogs in regions without an evolutionary history with chytrid, like Australia and the Americas, were particularly vulnerable to the disease.
  • The devastating impact of chytrid on frog populations was noticed by amphibian biologists in the 1980s, and in 1998, the chytrid fungal pathogen was identified as the cause.
  • A recent multinational study has developed a method to detect all known strains of the disease, which will improve detection and research efforts towards finding a widely available cure.


PARAS Telescope

Syllabus: Prelims : Science  and Technology

Why in News ?

  • New exoplanet, 13 times Jupiter’s mass, discovered by scientists using the PARAS telescope.

About the discovery

  • New Jupiter-size exoplanet with highest density discovered around star TOI4603/HD 245134, initially identified as a potential candidate by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.

About PARAS telescope

  • PARAS, a high-precision spectrograph, was commissioned in 2012 at the Mount Abu telescope in India.
  • It achieves velocity precision better than 2 m/s over long periods on bright RV standard stars.
  • With a spectral coverage of 3800–9500 Å and a resolution of ~67000, PARAS offers efficient performance (~7%) under ideal conditions.
  • Its stable point-spread function, environmental control, calibration fiber, and ample observing time make it ideal for exoplanetary and stellar astrophysics research.

Side Notes :

  • Exoplanets are planets outside our solar system.
  • They can orbit stars or exist as free-floating rogue planets.
  • Massive giant exoplanets have a mass exceeding four times that of Jupiter.



Syllabus: Prelims : Science  and Technology

Why in News ?

  • India is planning to launch X-Ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat) later this year.

XPoSat mission

  • XPoSat is India’s first polarimetry mission and the world’s second after NASA’s IXPE(Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer)
  • It aims to study bright astronomical X-ray sources in extreme conditions.
  • The spacecraft carries two payloads: POLIX ((Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays)) for measuring polarimetry parameters and XSPECT for spectroscopic information.
  • POLIX is developed by RRI in collaboration with ISRO’s URSC and will observe around 40 astronomical sources.
  • XSPECT ((X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing)) will provide insights into various sources like X-ray pulsars, blackhole binaries, and low-magnetic field neutron stars.


  • These polarimetry missions will help observe polarized X-rays from neutron stars and supermassive black holes. 
  • By measuring the polarisation of these X-rays, we can study where the light came from and understand the geometry and inner workings of the light source

Detecting X-Rays in Space

  • X-rays have high energy and short wavelengths.
  • They are emitted by objects at extremely high temperatures, such as pulsars, supernova remnants, and black holes.
  • X-rays consist of moving electric and magnetic waves, while polarized light has organized waves vibrating in the same direction.
  • Polarimetry measures the angle of rotation of polarized light passing through specific materials.


Some Facts

  • France became the first country in the world to impose a ban on short-haul domestic flights, favoring train travel for routes up to two-and-a-half hours.
  • Planes emit 77 times more CO2 than trains on these routes.
  • Private jets are estimated to be 5-14 times more polluting than commercial planes and 50 times more polluting than trains.





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