India’s First Mission to Study the Sun, Aditya-L1, will be Launched by June-July: ISRO chairman

India’s First Mission to Study the Sun, Aditya-L1, will be Launched by June-July: ISRO chairman- The Visible Line Emission Coronagraph (VELC), the main payload on board Aditya-L1, India’s first dedicated scientific mission to study the Sun, was given to ISRO by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) and is scheduled to launch by June or July.  The handing over ceremony was held in the presence of the ISRO Chairman S Somanath at the Centre for Research and Education in Science and Technology (CREST) campus of IIA. IIA said it has successfully finished assembling, testing and calibrating the VELC, which is the largest and one of the most technically challenging of the seven payloads/telescopes that will fly on Aditya-L1, at its CREST campus.

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About The Payloads In Aditya-L1:

Aditya-L1 features a total of seven payloads, the main one of which, the VELC, was created and manufactured by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA, Bengaluru). The ISRO and other scientific institutions are creating the remaining six payloads. Understanding the effect of the Sun on the Earth and its surroundings has become very important now and Aditya-L1 aims to shed light on this topic. The payload will be taken to the R. Rao Satellite Centre (Bengaluru), where it will be integrated with the Aditya-L1 satellite and will undergo further testing, evaluation and finally launched using the PSLV.

About The Visible Line Emission Coronagraph (VELC) Payload:

  • The data collected by the VELC payload, which will continuously observe the corona, is anticipated to bring solutions to several outstanding questions in the study of the solar astronomy.
  • No other solar coronagraph in space has the ability to image the solar corona as close to the solar disk as VELC can (can image it as close as 1.05 times the solar radius).
  • It can also do imaging, spectroscopy, and polarimetry at the same time, and can take observations at a very high resolution.

What is the Aditya-L1 Mission:

  • Aditya (in Sanskrit means Sun) is a planned coronagraphy spacecraft to study solar atmosphere (solar corona – outermost part).
  • Currently, ISRO and a variety of other Indian research institutions are working on its design and development.
  • First dedicated Indian mission to observe the Sun, it is planned to be launched in June-July 2023 aboard a PSLV-XL launch vehicle. It was conceptualised in 2008 and was initially envisaged as a small 400 kg satellite.
  • The mission’s objectives have subsequently been broadened and it is now intended to be a comprehensive observatory of the sun and space environment.
  • It will be placed in an orbit around the Lagrange (L1) point (L1 is about 1.5 million kms from Earth) between Earth and the sun (so renamed – “Aditya-L1“).

What are Lagrange Points:

  • Lagrange points are positions in space where objects sent tend to stay there, as the gravitational pull of two large masses precisely equals the centripetal force required for a small object to move with them.
  • These points in space can be used by spacecraft to reduce fuel consumption needed to remain in position.
  • The first Lagrangian point of the Sun-Earth system, L1 orbit, allows Aditya-L1 to look at the sun continuously.

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