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Sonam Kapoor. IANS

A women who sacrificed her life, at the age of 24, so that she could protect her passengers. Her plane Pam Am Flight 73 was hijacked on the way to USA, she saved each and every life on that flight, except hers.

Sonam Kapoor starrer ‘Neerja’ is based on the same set of events. Kapoor won her first National award for the film.


Read more: 5 Unknown and Amusing Facts About Wine

Here 10 must know facts about Neerja Bhanot:

1. She was born on 7th September, 1962 in Chandigarh to Harish and Rama Bhanot.

Her father was a journalist in his days. Her parents had prayed for long to get a daughter. When she was born, her father had thanked the nurse twice. She repeated, ‘It is a girl.’

2. She studied in Bombay Scottish School, and graduated from St Xavier’s college, Mumbai.

A ‘no problem’ child, who entertained ‘no nonsense’. Neerja’s family name was ‘Lado’.

3. She was a loyal friend.

Even if she had a disagreement with any of her friends, she would always be the first to sort it out. She always used to speak her mind, telling the truth.

4. Neerja Bhanot was a known face in ad campaigns.

She was around 18 years old when a photographer approached her for a modelling assignment. When the ad was printed, what followed was a mirage of jobs. Neerja had features in ads for Binaca, Vaporex and Krack Jack biscuits.


Her flight was hijacked on its way to United States of America. Pexels

5. She was married to a man based in Sharjah in March 1985.

This was when her modelling career was taking off. But Neerja agreed to the marriage without any argument. However within two months of the marriage, she was subjected to mental and physical abuse.

Also read: 15 amazing facts about Amul Butter Ads

6. Neerja’s marriage came to an end when she came back to Mumbai for a modelling assignment.

Her husband sent her an ugly letter listing terms of her return. It was ‘accept the humiliating terms without a whimper at your own cost’ offer. The other option was separation. Bhanot chose the later.

7. She was picked in the top 80, out of 10,000 applicants for a job of flight attendant with Pam Am.

After her abusive marriage ended, Neerja wanted to prove herself. She used to say if something happened to her one day, even her ex-husband’s shadow should not fall on her dead body. Her wish was honoured.

8. She left home for the last time on 5th September 1986.

25 hours before turning 24, she left to attend her cabin-crew duty. Neerja Bhanot was known to be absolutely calm and efficient through the hijack episode. She alerted the captain, and it was her smartness that ensured the plane couldn’t take off.


She could have escaped first when she opened the emergency exit. Pexels

9. She saved others, over herself.

Neerja could have saved herself when she opened the emergency exit, but that didn’t go well with her. She decided to be the last person to quit, be it alive or dead.

10. It was on 6th of September that her funeral took place, just a day before her birthday.

The women who died so other could live. She cremated with the chanting of ‘Goodbye darling, please keep coming’, her favourite mantra.


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Milky Way galaxy as seen from Chitkul Valley

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.

Astronomers have, so far, found all other known exoplanets and exoplanet candidates in the Milky Way galaxy, almost all of them less than about 3,000 light-years from Earth.

An exoplanet in M51 would be about 28 million light-years away, meaning it would be thousands of times farther away than those in the Milky Way, NASA said.

"We are trying to open up a whole new arena for finding other worlds by searching for planet candidates at X-ray wavelengths, a strategy that makes it possible to discover them in other galaxies," said Rosanne Di Stefano of the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the study.

The findings are published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

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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