Sun: India’s Aditya spacecraft to do Surya Namaskar at L1 point near Sun; to study solar flares | India News


NEW DELHI: India’s first solar mission Aditya spacecraft, to be launched this year, will do a ‘Surya Namaskar’ facing the Sun as it will be placed in a halo orbit around the Lagrange point 1 (L1) of the Sun. The distance between the L1 and the Sun is 93 million miles or 149 million km.
Isro chairman S Somanath informed TOI, “The launch is in June-July. The spacecraft will be ready (by then). All payloads have been delivered and are undergoing tests prior to integration.”
Union space minister Jitendra Singh said, “This will be the first mission of its kind in which research and study will be done on the Sun’s atmosphere, its environment and all aspects related to it.”
The Aditya-L1 will take around 109 Earth days after launch to reach the halo orbit around the L1 point. The advantage of placing a spacecraft at L1 is that the spaceship will tend to stay put as the gravitational pull of two large masses precisely equals the centripetal force required for a small object to move with them. Placing the spacecraft at L1 point, which is about 1.5 million km from the Earth, will also help it view the Sun without any occultation or eclipses and reduce spacecraft’s fuel consumption.
Costing around Rs 400 crore, the satellite will carry a payload of seven scientific instruments to study solar corona (outermost part of the Sun’s atmosphere), solar flares, causes of coronal mass ejections and also understand the Sun’s influence on the Earth and near-Earth space environment. The study will help in the forewarning of solar electro-magnetic effects on Earth and can thus protect satellites, power and communication networks from getting disrupted as they can be put in safe mode during the period of solar flare emissions.
The payloads of the 1,500 kg spacecraft will observe the photosphere, chromosphere and the corona using electromagnetic and particle and magnetic field detectors. Using the L1 vantage point, four payloads will directly view the Sun and the remaining three payloads will carry out in-situ studies of particles and fields, thus providing important scientific studies of the propagatory effect of solar dynamics in the interplanetary medium, Isro said.
Aditya was first conceptualised in January 2008 by the advisory committee for space research. It was initially envisaged as a small 400 kg LEO satellite with a coronagraph to study the solar corona. The scope of the mission was thereafter expanded and it is now planned to be a comprehensive solar and space environment observatory to be placed at L1 point.


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