The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) pioneering solar mission Aditya L1 is on the cusp of entering a halo orbit around the Earth -Sun Lagrange Point L1 on January 6, 2024. This strategic maneuver will position the spacecraft in a stable vantage point approximately 1.5 million kilometers from the Earth allowing it to maintain an uninterrupted view of the Sun.
Aditya L1’s journey began with its launch aboard the PSLV C57 on September 2, 2023. After executing a series of complex orbital maneuvers and a 110-day transit, the spacecraft is now poised to conduct its final insertion into the halo orbit. The orbit is crucial as it enables the satellites to escape the eclipse providing constant solar observations without being affected by the Earth’s magnetic field.
The primary objective of the mission is to study the solar atmosphere, particularly the chromosphere and corona and to gain insights into the phenomenon such as coronal mass ejections, solar flares and the mysterious heating of the corona. Understanding these solar events is vital as they can have profound effects on the space weather, potentially impacting satellite operations, telecommunications and power grids on Earth.
Equipped with seven sophisticated payloads, the Aditya L1 will delve into the dynamics of the Sun’s outer layers using electromagnetic and particle detectors. These include Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC), Low Energy X-Ray Spectrometer, Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya (PAPA), High Energy L1 Orbiting ray Spectrometer (HEL1OS), Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT), Aditya Solar Wind Particle Experiment (ASPEX), and onboard Magnetometers (MAG).
Goal of the Mission
Once in a halo orbit, the Aditya L1 will embark on a planned five-year mission gathering crucial data to address long standing questions about coronal heating, the characteristics and dynamics of solar eruptions and their influence of inter planetary medium. The mission is expected to provide the most comprehensive view of the Sun and its influence on our space environment.
ISRO Chairman S. Somanath has emphasized the global significance of the data that Aditya L1 will collect, noting that it will not only benefit India, but also contribute to the world scientific community understanding of solar dynamics.