After the successful soft-landing of Chandrayaan-3, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has announced the launching of the country’s first space-based observatory, Aditya-L1, to study the Sun. The spacecraft will be launched on Saturday, September 2, at 11.50 AM.
The ISRO said that Aditya-L1, named after the Sun God, will be carried by the Indian rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-XL variant (PSLV-XL); and has invited the public to register, in order to witness the launch from the gallery at the Sriharokota port, Andhra Pradesh.
Initially, Aditya-L1 will be ejected in a low earth orbit (LEO), then the orbit will be elliptical. As the spacecraft travels towards L1, it will exit the earth’s gravitational Sphere of Influence (SOI).
After exit from the SOI, the cruise phase will start and subsequently the spacecraft will be injected into a large halo orbit around L1. The total travel time from launch to L1 would take about four months for Aditya-L1 and the distance will be about 1.5 million km from the Earth.
The ISRO said, ‘A satellite placed in the halo orbit around the L1 point has the major advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occultation/eclipses. This will provide a greater advantage of observing the solar activities and its effect on space weather in real time.’
‘Using the special vantage point L1, four payloads directly view the Sun and the remaining three payloads carry out in-situ studies of particles and fields at the Lagrange point L1, thus providing important scientific studies of the propagator effect of solar dynamics in the interplanetary medium.’, it further stated.
Major objectives of the Aditya-L1 Mission are the study of solar upper atmospheric (chromosphere and corona) dynamics, study of chromosphere and coronal heating, physics of the partially ionised plasma, and initiation of the coronal mass ejections, and flares. It will also observe the in-situ particle and plasma environment providing data for the study of particle dynamics from the Sun.
Other objectives are physics of solar corona and its heating mechanism, the diagnostics of the coronal and coronal loops plasma: temperature, velocity and density, development, dynamics and origin of Coronal Mass Ejections (CME); to identify the sequence of processes that occur at multiple layers (chromosphere, base and extended corona), which eventually lead to solar eruptive events, magnetic field topology and magnetic field measurements in the solar corona, and the drivers for space weather (origin, composition and dynamics of solar wind).