Aditya-L1: India to send a spacecraft to study the Sun just a week after its successful moon landing

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Aditya means “belonging to the Sun” in Hindi

The Indian space agency, Isro, is aiming to launch a new satellite to study the Sun.

The ambitious moves comes a week after the country successfully landed a spacecraft on the Lunar South Pole - making it the first nation to do so.

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The Sun satellite, named Aditya-L1, is scheduled for 2 September, Isro posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The Sun (Image: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory via Getty Images)The Sun (Image: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory via Getty Images)
The Sun (Image: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory via Getty Images) | NASA via Getty Images

The mission will take off via Isro's PSLV XL rocket from India’s main spaceport, the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in southern Andhra Pradesh state’s Sriharikota.

The hope is that the Aditya-L1 will observe the Sun's behaviour and effect on space weather, such as solar storms, in real-time.

The Aditya-L1 will hover into a halo orbit in a region known as the Lagrange Point 1 (L1), located about 1.5 million km away from Earth to obtain a continuous and clear view of the Sun.

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Various radiations of the Sun do not reach the Earth's surface and therefore do not allow instruments on Earth to carry out any solar studies.

But Isro says the new probe can carry out these observations of these solar radiations from space.

The probe will be placed in a Low Earth Orbit, then follow a more elliptical path and will later be launched to L1 by using onboard propulsion.

“The total travel time from launch to L1 would take about four months for Aditya-L1,” the space agency said.

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The Aditya-L1 carries seven payloads designed to study the Sun from the special L1 vantage point.

It will study the Sun’s photosphere, chromosphere and its outermost layer – the corona – using electromagnetic as well as particle and magnetic field detectors.

Four payloads will directly view the Sun while the remaining three are designed to carry out studies of particles and fields at L1.

Some of the objectives of the payloads include a study of the Sun’s partially ionised plasma, initiation of the mass ejections of particles – a process known as Coronal Mass Ejection – and to analyse solar flares.

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“The mission is our first space-based attempt to understand the Sun’s dynamic activity and monitor our space environment,” solar physicist Dibyendu Nandi, from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Kolkata, posted on X.

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