India launches spacecraft to study the sun - GulfToday

India launches spacecraft to study the Sun


The PSLV XL rocket carrying the Aditya-L1 spacecraft, the first space-based Indian observatory to study the Sun, is launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on Saturday. AFP

India launched its first space mission to study the sun on Saturday, less than two weeks after a successful uncrewed landing near the south polar region of the moon.

The Aditya-L1 spacecraft took off on board a satellite launch vehicle from the Sriharikota space centre in southern India on a quest to study the sun from a point about 1.5 million kilometers (930,000 miles) from earth.

The spacecraft is equipped with seven payloads to study the sun’s corona, chromosphere, photosphere and solar wind, the Indian Space Research Organization said.

India became the first country to land a spacecraft near the moon’s south pole on Aug. 23 — a historic voyage to uncharted territory that scientists believe could hold vital reserves of frozen water. After a failed attempt to land on the moon in 2019, India joined the United States, the Soviet Union and China as only the fourth country to achieve this milestone.

The sun study, combined with India's successful moon landing, would completely change the image of ISRO in the world community, said Manish Purohit, a former ISRO scientist.

This photo shows the sun as seen by the Solar Orbiter spacecraft in extreme ultraviolet light. File/Reuters

The Aditya-L1 was headed for the L1 point of the Earth-Sun system, which affords an uninterrupted view of the sun, ISRO said. "This will provide a greater advantage of observing solar activities and their effect on space weather in real-time.”

Once in place, the satellite would provide reliable forewarning of an onslaught of particles and radiation from heightened solar activity that has the potential to knock out power grids on Earth, said B.R. Guruprasad, a space scientist, in an article in The Times of India newspaper. The advanced warning can protect the satellites that are the backbone of global economic structure as well as the people living in space stations.

Members of the CISF watch the live streaming of the launch of PSLV XL rocket carrying the Aditya-L1 spacecraft. AFP

"Those seven payloads are going to study the sun as a star in all the possible spectrum positions that we have visible, ultraviolet, and X-ray. … It’s like we’re going to get a black and white image, the colour image and the high-definition image, 4K image of the sun, so that we don’t miss out on anything that is happening on the sun,” Purohit said.

Associated Press


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