Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has done wonders for the country in the recent years. One of their upcoming projects is to study the sun. ISRO plans to carry out the mission by 2019-2020 with the probe named Aditya – L1 by PSLV-XL from Sriharikota. It is the first Indian based Solar Coronagraph which would study solar Corona in visible and near IR bands. The mission was supposed to launch during the high solar activity period in 2012 but was postponed.
The Aditya Mission
The Aditya-1 mission was formulated as a 400 kg class satellite carrying one payload – the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC). It was planned to launch in a 800 km low earth orbit. A satellite which is placed in the halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) of the Sun-Earth system, has the major advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occultation or eclipses. Because of that, the Aditya-1 mission has now been revised to Aditya – L1 mission. It will be inserted in a halo orbit around the L1, distance being 1.5 million km from Earth. The satellite carries additional six payloads with enhanced science scope and objectives.
The mission is an exciting one for us: Aditya – L1 is India’s third big extra-terrestrial outing after Moon and Mars, conceived and designed by ADCOS, the multi-faculty body of the ISRO. Aditya-1 was meant to observe the solar corona – which is the outer layers of the sun extending to thousands of km above the photosphere. The temperature is more than a million degree Kelvin which is higher than the solar disc’s: 6000 K. It still is a mystery in solar physics as to why the corona gets heated to such temperatures! It would study the Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) and consequently the crucial physical parameters for space weather such as the coronal magnetic field structures and the evolution of the coronal magnetic field. This will provide completely new information on the velocity fields and their variability in the inner corona.
Aditya- L1 includes multiple payloads like Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT) and Aditya Solar wind Particle Experiment (ASPEX). These provide an opportunity to solar scientists of the country to participate in space based instrumentation and observations.
Let’s hope for another successful mission (the recent being the launch of India’s heaviest satellite till date) as ISRO keeps the pride of the nation on the peak!