ISRO's upcoming solar mission, Aditya-L1, is set to launch on September 2 at 11:50 am from the Sriharikota space center. This mission holds significant promise as it aims to observe the solar corona from a strategic vantage point known as the Sun-Earth Lagrange point L1. This point, located approximately 1.5 million kilometers away from Earth, offers a unique perspective due to its position where the gravitational forces between the Sun and Earth reach equilibrium, reducing fuel consumption for spacecraft.
Aditya-L1, named after Joseph-Louis Lagrange who pioneered Lagrange Points, will leverage its position in the halo orbit around L1 to continuously monitor the Sun, unhindered by eclipses or occultation. This feature provides a real-time advantage in observing solar activities and their impact on space weather, a crucial aspect of the mission.
The primary objectives of the Aditya-L1 mission encompass a comprehensive study of the Sun's upper atmosphere, including the chromosphere and corona, as well as its interactions with the solar wind. The mission seeks to unravel the physics of the partially ionized plasma in the solar atmosphere, investigate mechanisms that heat the solar corona, and closely monitor phenomena like coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and solar flares.
To achieve these objectives, Aditya-L1 will carry an array of seven sophisticated payloads. Among them are four remote sensing payloads with distinct capabilities:
1. The Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC) will capture images of the solar corona and its dynamic behavior.
2. The Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT) is designed to image the photosphere and chromosphere across narrow and broadband ultraviolet wavelengths.
3. The Solar Low Energy X-ray Spectrometer (SoLEXS) will study soft X-ray emissions originating from the Sun.
4. The High Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray Spectrometer (HEL1OS) will focus on studying hard X-ray emissions from the Sun.
In addition to these remote sensing payloads, Aditya-L1 will incorporate three in-situ payloads to measure vital solar wind properties:
1. The Aditya Solar Wind Particle Experiment (ASPEX) will analyze the composition and dynamics of the solar wind.
2. The Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya (PAPA) is tasked with measuring various plasma characteristics of the solar wind.
3. The Advanced Tri-axial High-Resolution Digital Magnetometers will quantify the magnetic field within the solar wind.
The Aditya-L1 mission stands as India's first dedicated space-based observatory to comprehensively investigate the Sun's behavior, contributing crucial insights into solar physics, space weather, and their implications. With its array of advanced instruments, this mission is poised to uncover significant facets of our nearest star.