Follow Mint Lounge

Latest Issue

Home > Smart Living> Innovation > Isro launches Aditya-L1 solar mission

Isro launches Aditya-L1 solar mission

Isro's Aditya-L1 solar mission could make India part of a select group of nations that have space probes studying the sun

Aditya-L1, India's maiden solar mission, on board PSLV-C57 lifts off from the launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, in Sriharikota.
Aditya-L1, India's maiden solar mission, on board PSLV-C57 lifts off from the launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, in Sriharikota. (PTI)

Days after the successful Chandrayaan-3 moon landing, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) marked yet another milestone by launching the Aditya-L1 spacecraft, which is the first Indian space-based observatory-class solar mission to study the Sun.

The mission took off successfully on Saturday at around 11:50 hrs on Isro’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (or PSLV) from the spaceport in Sriharikota. According to multiple reports, this will be PSLV's longest flight for about 63 minutes.

According to Isro, the Aditya-L1 spacecraft is carrying seven payloads to observe the photosphere, chromosphere, and the outermost layers of the Sun (the corona) using electromagnetic and particle detectors. Using the special vantage point of Lagrange point or L1, four payloads will directly view the Sun, while the remaining three payloads will carry out in-situ studies of particles and fields at the L1 point.

The Lagrange point 1 of the Sun-Earth system is about 1.5 million km from the Earth. Isro says a satellite placed in the halo orbit around the L1 point has a big advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occultation/eclipses. The spacecraft will take approximately 125 days, around 4 months, to reach this observation point.

Isro says the Aditya-L1 payloads are expected to provide crucial information to understand the problem of coronal heating, coronal mass ejection (CME), pre-flare and flare activities and their characteristics, dynamics of space weather, propagation of particle and fields, among other things. Some of the key scientific goals of the Aditya-L1 mission include studying the solar upper atmospheric dynamic, drivers for space weather – the origin, composition and dynamics of solar winds.

One of the most key payloads is the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC), developed in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, will study the solar corona and dynamics of CME. The VELC will send 1,440 images per day to the ground station for analysis on reaching the intended orbit. According to a Press Trust of India report, it is "the largest and technically most challenging" payload on Aditya-L1.

India is now on course to be part of a select group of countries that have probes studying the sun. China has two such spacecraft orbiting Earth, including the Advanced Space-based Solar Observatory launched last year to investigate solar flares and coronal mass ejections, a Bloomberg report explains. 

Hinode, backed by space agencies from Japan, the UK, the US and Europe, is orbiting Earth and measures the magnetic fields of the sun. The Solar & Heliospheric Observatory mission (known as SOHO), a joint project of Nasa and the European Space Agency, is near the same Lagrange point as the one ISRO is targeting for Aditya-L1, the Bloomberg report adds. 

Another joint US-European mission, Solar Orbiter, can travel as close as about 42 million km from the sun. The US and Nasa also have the Parker Solar Probe, which in 2021 became the first spacecraft to pass through the sun’s corona, or upper atmosphere.

(With inputs from news agencies)

Also read: Explained: What is the VELC payload on Isro's Aditya-L1 mission?

Next Story