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India successfully launched its first solar mission, Aditya-L1, on September 2, 2023 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India. The launch was a success and the spacecraft is now on its way to the Sun.
The Aditya-L1 mission is designed to study the Sun’s atmosphere, including the corona, chromosphere, and photosphere. The spacecraft will be placed in a halo orbit around the Sun-Earth Lagrange point 1 (L1), which is about 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.
The Aditya-L1 mission will carry seven payloads:
- Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC): This instrument will image the solar corona in the visible light spectrum.
- High Resolution Coronal Imager (Hi-CRI): This instrument will image the solar corona in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) spectrum.
- Solar Wind Composition Spectrometer (SWICS): This instrument will measure the composition of the solar wind.
- In-Situ Solar Wind Electron Analyzer (ISEA): This instrument will measure the electron energy distribution in the solar wind.
- In-Situ Solar Wind Proton Analyzer (ISWP): This instrument will measure the proton energy distribution in the solar wind.
- Magnetometer (MAG): This instrument will measure the magnetic field in the solar wind and the vicinity of the spacecraft.
- Solar Particle Detector (SPD): This instrument will detect and measure the flux of solar energetic particles.
Structure and Dynamics of the Solar Corona
One of the main objectives of the Aditya-L1 mission is to study the structure and dynamics of the solar corona. The corona is the outermost layer of the Sun’s atmosphere and is much hotter than the surface of the Sun. The exact mechanism that heats the corona is not fully understood, but the Aditya-L1 mission will help to shed light on this mystery.
Origin and Evolution of Solar Flares and Coronal Mass Ejections
Another major objective of the Aditya-L1 mission is to study the origin and evolution of solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Solar flares are sudden, violent eruptions of energy from the Sun’s surface. CMEs are large expulsions of plasma and magnetic fields from the Sun’s corona. Both solar flares and CMEs can have a significant impact on Earth’s space environment.
Relationship Between the Solar Atmosphere and the Solar Wind
The Aditya-L1 mission will also study the relationship between the solar atmosphere and the solar wind. The solar wind is a stream of charged particles that flows from the Sun into space. The solar wind is responsible for shaping the Earth’s magnetosphere and can also have a significant impact on space weather.
The Aditya-L1 mission is a major step forward in India’s space program. It will provide valuable insights into the Sun and its atmosphere and help us to better understand space weather. The mission is expected to operate for a period of five years.