In a significant milestone for India’s space exploration, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) successfully launched its first solar observatory mission dedicated to study the Sun, Aditya-L1, on Saturday.

The launch took place at 11:50 am IST from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. The spacecraft separated from the fourth stage of the rocket nearly an hour after launch, making it one of the longest missions of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. Adity-L1 is India’s pioneering mission to study the Sun and its dynamic activities. The spacecraft will travel approximately 1.5 million kilometers from Earth to position itself in a halo orbit around the Langrange point 1 (L1) of the Sun-Earth system.

This strategic location will allow the satellite to continuously observe the Sun without any eclipses, providing real-time data on solar activities and their effects on space weather.

The mission carries seven scientific instruments designed to investigate various aspects of the Sun’s behavior. These include the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC), Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT), Aditya Solar wind Particle Experiment (ASPEX), and a Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya (PAPA).

These instruments will provide multi-wavelength observations of the Sun’s atmosphere, from the photosphere to the corona, enabling scientists to trace the flow of energy and matter between different layers.

One of the key objectivesof the Aditya-L1 mission is to unravel the mystery of the Sun’s corona, which is significantly hotter than its surface. By closely examining the behaviour of the corona, scientists hope to understand the mechanisms responsible for heating this outer layer of the Sun.

Additionally, the mission aims to provide insights into the processes that lead to solar flares, coronal mass ejections (CMEs), and solar energetic particle(SEP) events.

These insights can contribute to more accurate forecasting of space weather phenomena and their potential effects on communication systems, satellites, and power grids.

The mission also seeks to understand how the Sun’s radiation affects Earth’s climate over long timescales.

Observations of near-UV solar radiation and its impact on Earth’s upper atmosphere can contribute to understanding how solar variability might affect Earth’s climate patterns.

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