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Aditya L1: India's First Solar Mission - 6 Key Points


Science  •  4 Sept, 2023  •  21,141 Views  •  ⭐ 5.0

Written by Anand Swami


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India has triumphantly launched its inaugural solar mission, Aditya L1, on 2nd September 2023. The spacecraft will circumnavigate the L1 Lagrange point, approximately 1.5 million km away from Earth, offering keen observations of the Sun's atmosphere and magnetic storms. Aditya L1 stands as a paramount scientific initiative, set to enhance our comprehension of the Sun and its influence on Earth. Here are six key insights about Aditya L1:

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A Suite of Seven Instruments to Examine the Sun

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Aditya L1 is equipped with seven specialised instruments for diverse Sun observations. This ensemble encompasses a coronagraph, a telescope, dual X-ray spectrometers, a solar wind particle experiment, a plasma analyser, and a magnetometer. They promise to shed light on the Sun’s chromosphere, corona, flares, CMEs, magnetic field, and particle ambience.

Demystifying Solar Storms and Their Impacts

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A central ambition of Aditya L1 is deciphering the solar tempests birthed by the Sun, which bear consequences for Earth. Such storms can wreak havoc on communication systems, power grids, satellites, and navigation structures. Aditya L1 aims to chronicle the genesis and progression of these tempests and their repercussions on Earth’s magnetosphere and ionosphere.

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A Collective Endeavour of ISRO and Numerous Indian Research Establishments

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Aditya L1 is the brainchild of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in conjunction with various Indian research academies. ISRO oversaw the spacecraft's conception and realisation, while assorted institutes like IUCAA and IIA furnished the instruments. Additionally, the European Space Agency (ESA) rendered indispensable aid in deep space communication and flight dynamics software authentication.

Launch From Sriharikota via PSLV-XL Rocket

Image Credits: Hindustan Times

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-XL) rocket, taking off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, served as the launch vehicle for Aditya L1. The take-off transpired at precisely 11:50 IST on 2nd September 2023. The rocket adeptly positioned the spacecraft in a transfer orbit encircling Earth, setting its trajectory towards the L1 point.

Minimum Five-Year Orbit Around the L1 Point

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The Aditya L1 mission is slated for a halo orbit around the L1 point for a minimum tenure of five years. This L1 point, a stable juncture in space, is where Earth and Sun’s gravitational pulls counterbalance. Such equilibrium allows the spacecraft an uninterrupted gaze at the Sun whilst conserving fuel. The halo orbit is an elliptical course around the L1 point, skilfully evading Earth and Moon eclipses.

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Derivation of the Name ‘Aditya L1’

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The mission’s moniker, Aditya L1, originates from the Sanskrit term for the Sun and is reminiscent of the Hindu sun deity, Surya. This appellation celebrates both India’s rich cultural tapestry and the scientific essence of the expedition. The suffix L1 signifies the spacecraft's destined Lagrange orbit.

Conclusion

Aditya L1, marking India’s foray into solar missions, promises revelations about the enigmatic Sun and its sway over our world. It stands as a monumental milestone in Indian space exploration, propelling our scientific prowess and acumen. Moreover, Aditya L1 pledges to fortify global endeavours in grasping and forecasting solar activities and their Earthly effects.

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