ISRO chairman Kiran Kumar recently revealed that the scientific mission of launching Aditya-L1 satellite for solar studies is underway. Aditya-L1 is slated for lift-off in 2018-2019.
About the mission:
- It is India’s first solar mission. It will study the sun’s outer most layers, the corona and the chromospheres and collect data about coronal mass ejection, which will also yield information for space weather prediction.
- The project costs approximately Rs 400 crores and is a joint venture between ISRO and physicists from Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru; Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune; Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, and other institutes.
- The data from Aditya mission will be immensely helpful in discriminating between different models for the origin of solar storms and also for constraining how the storms evolve and what path they take through the interplanetary space from the Sun to the Earth.
- In order to get the best science from the sun, continuous viewing of the sun is preferred without any occultation/ eclipses and hence, Aditya- L1 satellite will be placed in the halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) of the sun-earth system.
What are Lagrangian points and halo orbit?
Lagrangian points are the locations in space where the combined gravitational pull of two large masses roughly balance each other. Any small mass placed at that location will remains at constant distances relative to the large masses. There are five such points in Sun-Earth system and they are denoted as L1, L2, L3, L4 and L5. A halo orbit is a periodic three-dimensional orbit near the L1, L2 or L3.