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Narendra Modi welcomed the Rafale aircraft and connected it to "rashtra rakshaa" or national defence. Wikimedia Commons

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted a video of the first set of Rafale aircraft landing on Indian soil with a Sanskrit phrase where he welcomed their arrival and connected it to “rashtra rakshaa” or national defence.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also retweeted it. Interestingly, the BJP had used the same Sanskrit phrase with an additional statement in English that read, “A Terror Free Resurgent India”, in a tweet from its official handle last year in February when the Rafale purchase issue had created a massive political storm ahead of the 2019 general election. The party had also used the hashtag, ‘For the first time’, as a dig at previous governments, back then.


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The Sanskrit phrase talks about “rashtra raksha” or national defence. If loosely translated, it means, “I don’t see any ‘punya’, ‘vrat’ or ‘yagya’ like that of a nation’s defence”.


Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in a tweet, “The Birds have landed safely in Ambala.” Wikimedia Commons

The first five of the 36 medium multi-role Rafale fighter jets being built by French aircraft manufacturer Dassault landed safely at the IAF airbase in Ambala on Wednesday afternoon. Significantly, the frontline IAF airbase is likely to be used in case of a conflict at the northern or the western borders.

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in a tweet, “The Birds have landed safely in Ambala.”

Of the two squadrons of the Rafale fighters, one would be based in Ambala for the western borders with Pakistan, while the second squadron would be based at Hasimara in West Bengal. It will be dedicated for the China border where Indian and Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops are engaged in a border standoff, which left 20 Indian and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers dead following a bloody clash on June 15. (IANS)


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NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has for the first time spotted signs of a planet transiting a star outside of the Milky Way galaxy, opening up a new avenue to search for exoplanets at greater distances than ever before.

The possible exoplanet -- or planets outside of our Solar System -- candidate is located in the spiral galaxy Messier 51 (M51), also called the Whirlpool Galaxy because of its distinctive profile, NASA said in a statement.

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The exoplanet candidate was spotted in a binary system called M51-ULS-1, located in M51. This binary system contains a black hole or neutron star orbiting a companion star with a mass about 20 times that of the Sun. The X-ray transit they found using Chandra data lasted about three hours, during which the X-ray emission decreased to zero.

Based on this and other information, the team estimates the exoplanet candidate in M51-ULS-1 would be roughly the size of Saturn and orbit the neutron star or black hole at about twice the distance of Saturn from the Sun.

The team looked for X-ray transits in three galaxies beyond the Milky Way galaxy, using both Chandra and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton. Their search covered 55 systems in M51, 64 systems in Messier 101 (the "Pinwheel" galaxy), and 119 systems in Messier 104 (the "Sombrero" galaxy).

However, more data would be needed to verify the interpretation as an extragalactic exoplanet. One challenge is that the planet candidate's large orbit means it would not cross in front of its binary partner again for about 70 years, thwarting any attempts for a confirming observation for decades, NASA said.

Named in honor of the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the Chandra X-ray Observatory is the world's most powerful X-ray telescope. It has eight times greater resolution and is able to detect sources more than 20-times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope.

Known to the world as Chandra (which means "moon" or "luminous" in Sanskrit), Chandrasekhar was widely regarded as one of the foremost astrophysicists of the twentieth century. (IANS/JB)


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