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India’s Solar Mission - All Eyes on Aditya L1

Sarah Mohammed Tuesday, October 31, 2023
India’s Solar Mission - All Eyes on Aditya L1

India’s Solar Mission made a big leap on the 2nd September 2023 when Aditya L1, an indigenously designed solar observatory spacecraft, was launched by our own Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to study certain key solar features. It was just few days after our prestigious landing of Chandrayaan 3 at its destination!!

History of Our Solar Mission:

India’s Solar Mission achieved a definitive shape in the early 2008 when our Advisory Committee for Space Sciences (ADCOS) proposed a plan for a small satellite to study the solar corona, the outer layer of the sun’s atmosphere. This small-budget project gradually gained momentum and grew up into a robust mission - Aditya L1.

The word ‘Aditya’ is of Sanskrit origin denoting the ‘Sun’ and L1 means ‘Lagrange Point 1’ which is a position in space where gravitational force of two larger bodies, like Sun and Earth, equals the force required for a smaller body, like satellites, to move with them and remain in position with reduced fuel consumption. The name ‘Lagrange Point’ is credited to the Mathematician, Joseph Louis Lagrange who deduced the mathematical basis of such points. The Lagrange Point 1 between the Earth and Sun is about 1.5 million Kilometers from the Earth. This point not only affords stability to the satellite but also provides a clear view of the Sun, and thus ideal for positioning solar observatory satellites like Aditya. Accordingly, our solar observatory satellite rightly earned its name Aditya L1.

Journey of Aditya L1:

Initially, Aditya L1 will be placed in a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) which is an area closer to Earth for convenience in communication and resupply. Roughly, LEO belt is at an altitude of 2000 Kilometers or less from the Earth. Later, Aditya will be propelled to a large orbit around Lagrange Point 1 by using onboard propulsion.

The expectation is that it will reach its destination L1, around 1.5 million Kilometers from Earth and around 148.5 million Kilometers from the Sun, in just 126 days from the day it was launched. The golden date is calculated as 12th January 2024. We, the Indians are eagerly waiting for the said day with great hopes and prayers.

Objective of Aditya L1:

Understanding various solar phenomena and its influence on our planet is important for predicting climate and other behaviors. Our Aditya L1 will closely observe and collect data regarding the Sun’s atmosphere, wind, temperature fluctuations and the like which are essential for such study. It is expected that Aditya will be continuing to serve us for a period of around five years. Our eminent scientists will analyze and interpret the data coming from Aditya L1 and turn them into useful information for the entire mankind.

Aditya L1 Mission clearly shows our deep aspiration in the Astronomy and in complex space programs. Mindful of the fact that we are one among the very few countries who have done solar probes thus far, all eyes are on Aditya L1. Let our Aditya be able to bring vital information to us that will serve the world in a positive manner.

Sarah Mohammed
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