Aditya L1: ISRO's solar mission set for 4-month Journey to Lagrange point
ISRO's Aditya L1 spacecraft will travel 1.5 million km from Earth in a four-month journey to study the Sun's activities. Lagrange points represent specific locations in space where the gravitational forces of two celestial bodies, such as the Sun and Earth, generate regions of gravitational balance
ISRO's inaugural solar mission, Aditya L1, is scheduled for launch from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on Friday. The spacecraft is set to be launched at 11.50 am, following the notable achievement of Chandrayaan-3's recent landing on the Moon's southern pole last week.
“The journey to the designated mission site is a staggering 1.5 million km from the Earth and will take about four months to cover", ISRO said.
Aditya L1's four-month journey
The ISRO explained on its website that the spacecraft will be initially placed in a low earth orbit.
“Subsequently, the orbit will be made more elliptical and later the spacecraft will be launched towards the Lagrange point L1 by using on-board propulsion," it said. While travelling towards L1, Aditya L1 will exit the earth’s gravitational Sphere of Influence. Once out of it, its "cruise phase" will begin and the craft 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," the ISRO said.
Lagrange points represent specific locations in space where the gravitational forces of two celestial bodies, such as the Sun and Earth, generate regions of gravitational balance. Within these points, a spacecraft can maintain a stable position without the need for continuous fuel consumption.
In systems like the Earth-Sun configuration, there exist five Lagrange points designated as L1 through L5. Among these, L1 and L2, positioned closest to the Earth, offer advantageous positions for conducting observational investigations.
What are the objectives of Aditya L1 mission?
The major objectives of ISRO's first solar mission include: studying solar upper atmospheric (chromosphere and corona) dynamics; studying chromospheric and coronal heating, physics of the partially ionised plasma, initiation of the coronal mass ejections, and flares; observing the in-situ particle and plasma environment providing data for the study of particle dynamics from the Sun; and physics of solar corona and its heating mechanism.
Moreover, the mission also aims to study diagnostics of the coronal and coronal loops plasma: temperature, velocity and density; development, dynamics and origin of CMEs; identify the sequence of processes that occur at multiple layers (chromosphere, base and extended corona) which eventually leads to solar eruptive events; magnetic field topology and magnetic field measurements in the solar corona; and drivers for space weather (origin, composition and dynamics of solar wind).
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