Science & Tech

Uncovering the Secrets of the Sun: ISRO’s Aditya-L1 Mission

  • ISRO successfully launched India’s first solar observatory mission, Aditya-L1, on September 2.
  • The spacecraft’s mission, carried by the PSLV in its 59th flight, is to research the sun’s behaviour and phenomena.
  • Aditya-L1 will orbit the Earth for 16 days, performing five manoeuvres to maintain the requisite velocity.
  • Following Trans-Lagrangian insertion, a 110-day trek towards L1 Lagrange point will commence.
  • Aditya-L1 will orbit around L1, 1.5 million kilometres distant, at a balanced position between Earth and the sun.

Aditya-L1 Mission

  • ISRO unveils the Aditya-L1 project, a new space-based observatory designed to study the Sun.
  • The spacecraft will be in a halo orbit around the Sun-Earth system’s Lagrange point 1 (L1), roughly 1.5 million km from Earth.
  • The strategic location of the L1 point allows for continuous solar observation free of eclipses, providing significant insights into solar activities and their real-time effects on space weather.
  • Aditya will leave Earth’s sphere of influence and travel 1.5 million km to the Lagrange point L1.

The Importance of Lagrange Point 1

  • Lagrange points are equilibrium places where gravitational forces balance centripetal pressures, providing satellites with a stable environment.
  • The spacecraft will be positioned around L1, allowing for unimpeded observation of the Sun.
  • Different Lagrange locations provide distinct advantages, such as the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory Satellite’s (SOHO) continuous view of the Sun.

Aditya-L1’s Scientific Projects

  • Aditya-L1 includes seven payloads that use a variety of detectors to examine the photosphere, chromosphere, and corona.
  • Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC), Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT), Solar Low Energy X-ray Spectrometer (SoLEXS), and other instruments are among the payloads.
  • Payloads studying solar dynamics in the interplanetary medium help us understand phenomena such as coronal heating, mass ejections, and space weather.

The Importance of Solar Research

  • Solar Impact on the System: The Sun influences planetary evolution and weather, as well as satellites, electronics, electrical systems, and even Earth’s climate.
  • Predicting Solar Storms: Continuous solar observations are critical for following and predicting the potential repercussions of Earth-bound solar storms.
  • All solar storms headed towards Earth pass via L1, making it an important location for monitoring.

The Mighty LAM Engine is a key feature.

  • The Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) engine developed by ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) is critical to the success of the Aditya-L1 mission.
  • LAM has been critical in missions such as the Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan) and Chandrayaan-3.
  • LAM engines allow satellites and spacecraft to modify their orbits, saving fuel and assuring optimal location.
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