India successfully launched its ambitious spacecraft, Aditya L1, in its maiden solar mission.
This feat comes just two weeks after India’s Chandrayaan-3 rover successfully touched down on the uncharted Moon’s south pole, becoming the first country to do so.
Aditya-L1 lifted off from the launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota on Saturday, at exactly 11:50 am India time (06:20 GMT). The spacecraft will travel 1.5 million kilometres (30,000 miles) from the Earth, taking an estimated four months to travel that far.
The Aditya-L1 will travel several times around the Earth before being launched to Lagrange point 1 – the exact place between the Sun and Earth – where it will stay in Earth’s orbit for sixteen days to observe the Solar corona and conduct in-situ observations of the Solar wind at L1 (Sun-Earth Lagrange point), among other objectives.
India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi applauded the launch and team that made it possible, saying, “Our tireless scientific efforts will continue in order to develop a better understanding of the Universe for the welfare of entire humanity.”, the PM tweeted.
Jitrenda Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), who witnessed the launch from the Mission Control Centre (MCC) dubbed it as a “Sunshine moment” for India, according to Mint. Similarly, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath who watched the launch of Aditya-L1 hailed the successful launch, took to X (formerly Twitter) saying, “Along with the Moon, now the Sun will also witness the power of ‘self-reliant India’. Hearty congratulations to the entire team including @isro!,”.
If India’s Lagrange point 1-bound spacecraft is successful in completing the task it has set out to do, India will join Japan, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the US space agency, NASA as the select few that are already studying the sun.
What Aditya-L1 mission is
The objectives of the launch of Aditya L-1 in India’s Solar Mission, as reported by livemint.com, are as follows:
- Study of Solar upper atmospheric (chromosphere and corona) dynamics.
- Observe the in-situ particle and plasma environment.
- Study of chromospheric and coronal heating, physics of the partially ionized plasma, initiation of the corona mass ejections, and flares.
- 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
- Physics of solar corona and its heating mechanism