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India’s first mission to study the Sun: Aditya L1

How did it start?

As we know, India’s first mission to study the Sun: Aditya L1 being done by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) and various Indian research institutions. Aditya was conceived by the Space Research Advisory Committee in January 2008. A budget of Rs 3 crore was allocated for the financial year 2016-2017. It was initially envisioned as a small 400 kg, low-Earth orbiting satellite to study the solar corona and this mission named as Aditya-1. But the committee has extended the scope of this mission and now it is planned to become a comprehensive solar and space environment observatory to be placed at the Lagrangian point L1. After changes the mission was renamed as Aditya L1. The satellite carries additional six payloads with enhanced science scope and objectives. As of July 2019, the mission has an allocated cost of ₹378.53 crore excluding launch costs. It is India’s first solar mission. It is planned to be launched on the PSLV-C56 in December 2021 or January 2022.

Image credit: ISRO

About Aditya-1 and Aditya L1:

Aditya-1 was only meant to observe the solar corona. The outer layers of the Sun extending for thousands of km above the disc (the photosphere) are called the corona. It has a temperature of more than a million degree Kelvin which is much higher than the solar disc temperature of around 6000K. How the corona gets heated to such high temperatures is still an unanswered question in solar physics. 

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Aditya-L1 with additional experiments can now provide observations of Sun’s Corona (soft and hard X-ray, Emission lines in the visible and NIR), Chromosphere (UV) and photosphere (broadband filters).  In addition, particle payloads will study the particle flux emanating from the Sun and reaching the L1 orbit, and the magnetometer payload will measure the variation in magnetic field strength at the halo orbit around L1.   These payloads have to be placed outside the interference from the Earth’s magnetic field and could not have been useful in the low earth orbit.

Payloads:

The main payload continues to be the coronagraph with improved capabilities.  The main optics for this experiment remains the same.  The complete list of payloads, their science objective and lead institute for developing the payload is provided below:

Aditya-L1 in deployed view (Image credit: ISRO)
  • Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC): The coronagraph creates an artificial total solar eclipse in space by blocking the sunlight by an occult or. This telescope will have capabilities of spectral imaging of the corona in visible and infra-red wavelengths.  To study the diagnostic parameters of solar corona and dynamics and origin of Coronal Mass Ejections (3 visible and 1 Infra-Red channels); magnetic field measurement of solar corona down to tens of Gauss – Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA)
  • Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT): The SUIT will observe the Sun between the 200-400 nm wavelength range and it will provide full disc images of the different layers of the solar atmosphere using 11 filters. The Sun has never been observed from space in this wavelength range. With the spacecraft being at the first Lagrangian point, the SUIT will observe the Sun continuously without interruption. The SUIT payload weighs nearly 35 kg- Inter-University Centre for Astronomy & Astrophysics (IUCAA)  

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  • Aditya Solar wind Particle Experiment (ASPEX) : To study the  variation of solar wind properties as well as its distribution and spectral characteristics – Physical Research Laboratory (PRL)        
  • Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya (PAPA) : To understand the composition of solar wind and its energy distribution – Space Physics Laboratory (SPL), VSSC        
  • Solar Low Energy X-ray Spectrometer (SoLEXS) : To monitor the X-ray flares for studying the heating mechanism of the solar corona – ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC)
  • High Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray Spectrometer (HEL1OS): To observe the dynamic events in the solar corona and provide an estimate of the energy used to accelerate the particles during the eruptive events – ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC)and Udaipur Solar Observatory (USO), PRL
  • Magnetometer: To measure the magnitude and nature of the Interplanetary Magnetic Field – Laboratory for Electro-optic Systems (LEOS) and ISAC.
Surface of sun (credit: gifer.com)

Importance:

  • Accurate knowledge of solar phenomena is important for understanding space weather.
  • To study the effects of variation in the solar weather system: changes in this weather can alter satellites’ orbits or shorten their lives, interfere with or damage onboard electronics, and cause power blackouts on earth etc.
  • The evolution of every planet, including Earth and exoplanets beyond the Solar System, is controlled by its parent star, the Sun in our case. Solar weather and the environment affect the weather of the entire system. Therefore it is necessary to study the Sun.

Conclusion: In this article, you read about India’s first mission to study the Sun: Aditya L1 and its importance.  Thank you for reading this article hope it may help you to understand about Aditya L1 mission. And visit for more article related to bio materials, electronic materials, advance materials, magnetic materials.

Source: ISRO

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K Yashdeep

Hye there..! I am Yashdeep Kamal. I completed my Bachelor in Technology(Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering). Engineer by passion, writer by choice. I have been writing about Composites, Ceramics, polymers, nanotechnology, advance materials and metallurgy etc. You can read about these topics here. Hope it may help you.

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5 Comments

  1. Hello…
    Hope you are well…
    Your articles good, the way you explain it is amazing.
    I don’t read more but this one is well written. I try to read more..

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