The Indian programme to study the Sun and the region between the Sun and the Earth from space – Aditya-L1 – is due to be launched in 2022.
Prelims, GS-III: Science and Technology (Space technology, Developments in Science and Technology)
Dimensions of the Article:
- About Aditya-L1
- What is Lagrange Point 1?
- Role of ARIES in functioning of Aditya-L1
- Extra information for Prelims: Other missions for Study of Sun
- Aditya-L1 is India’s first solar mission to study the Sun designed and to be built in collaboration between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and various Indian research institutes.
- It is planned to be launched on the PSLV-C56 and it is now planned to be a comprehensive solar and space environment observatory to be placed at the Lagrangian point L1.
- The Aditya-L1 mission will be inserted in a halo orbit around the L1 point, which is about 1.5 million km from Earth.
- Aditya-L1 will be able to provide observations of Sun’s photosphere, chromosphere and corona.
- Aditya L1 will be ISRO’s 2nd space-based astronomy mission after AstroSat, which was launched in 2015.
Objectives of Aditya-1
- One of the major unsolved issues in the field of solar physics is that the upper atmosphere of the Sun is 1,000,000 K (1,000,000 °C) hot whereas the lower atmosphere is just 6,000 K (5,730 °C).
- In addition, it is not understood how exactly the Sun’s radiation affects the dynamics of the Earth’s atmosphere on shorter as well as on longer time scale.
- The mission will obtain near simultaneous images of the different layers of the Sun’s atmosphere, which reveal the ways in which the energy may be channeled and transferred from one layer to another.
- Thus, the Aditya-L1 mission will enable a comprehensive understanding of the dynamical processes of the Sun and address some of the outstanding problems in solar physics and heliophysics.
What is Lagrange Point 1?
- Lagrange Points, named after Italian-French mathematician Josephy-Louis Lagrange, are positions in space where the gravitational forces of a two-body system (like the Sun and the Earth) produce enhanced regions of attraction and repulsion.
- L1 refers to Lagrangian/Lagrange Point 1, one of 5 points in the orbital plane of the Earth-Sun system – which is about 1.5 million km from Earth, or about 1/100th of the way to the Sun.
- A Satellite placed in the halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) has the major advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occultation/ eclipses.
- The L1 point is home to the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory Satellite (SOHO), an international collaboration project of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA).
Role of ARIES in functioning of Aditya-L1
- Once the Aditya-L1 mission is launched, there will be a need for a ground support centre to monitor and coordinate the work on its various payloads.
- This role will be played by the ARIES facility (Aryabhata Research Institute for observational Sciences) which is situated near Nainital. This centre will come up at Haldawani, where ARIES is setting up a data centre also.
- An ARIES team has recently developed an algorithm to study the accelerating solar eruptions in the lower corona called CMEs Identification in Inner Solar Corona (in short, CIISCO), where CME stands for coronal mass ejection.
- The group has also developed several advanced image processing algorithms to detect fine-scale structures in the solar atmosphere. Such techniques are important to capture dynamics at different spatial and temporal scales.
- While ISRO will provide raw and calibrated spectra of the solar atmosphere, at ARIES researcher will further process the spectra to derive meaningful quantities such as intensity, Doppler velocities and line widths and provide these quantities to the scientific community.
- Continuous monitoring of the location and duration of these features will help in monitoring the Earth directed CMEs and thereby, the space weather.
Extra information for Prelims: Other missions for Study of Sun
- NASA’s Parker Solar Probe’s aim is to trace how energy and heat move through the Sun’s corona and to study the source of the solar wind’s acceleration. It is part of NASA’s ‘Living with a Star’ programme that explores different aspects of the Sun-Earth system.
- The earlier Helios 2 solar probe, a joint venture between NASA and space agency of erstwhile West Germany, went within 43 million km of the Sun’s surface in 1976.
-Source: The Hindu