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- What is Aditya-L1?
Aditya-L1 is India’s first solar probe mission. It is scheduled to be launched by the end of 2020.
- Initially, ISRO conceived it as a 400 kg class satellite carrying one payload, the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC), and planned to launch in an 800 km low earth orbit. It was then called Aditya-1.
- Then what changed that ISRO renamed it as Aditya-L1?
Later on, ISRO realized that placing the satellite in the halo orbit in Lagrange point 1 (L1) of the Sun-Earth system has the major advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occultation/ eclipses.
- Therefore, ISRO decided to place it in a halo orbit around the L1 and renamed it to the “Aditya-L1 mission”.
- What is Lagrange point 1 or L1?
Lagrange points are the points near two large bodies in orbit where a smaller object will maintain its position relative to the large orbiting bodies.
- There are five such points, labeled L1 to L5. At the L1 point, the orbital period of the object becomes exactly equal to Earth's orbital period. L1 is about 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.
- What more has changed about this mission from the initial plan of ISRO?
Aditya-1 was supposed to carry only one payload, the VELC. Aditya-L1 will carry six additional payloads.
- Aditya-1 was meant to observe only the solar corona. Aditya-L1 will provide observations of the Sun's Corona, Chromosphere, and photosphere and will also study the particle flux emanating from the Sun.
- Why is this mission significant?
Recently, NASA reaffirmed its supremacy in space exploration when its Parker Solar Probe reached closer to the Sun than any other man-made object ever.
- With Aditya-L1, ISRO will further boost its credentials as a space exploration agency. After successful lunar and mars missions, and it was one of the domains ISRO has hitherto not ventured into.
- Why do we need to study the sun?
Corona, the outermost part of the sun’s atmosphere holds a big mystery. Its temperature is higher than the solar disc (photosphere). How that becomes possible is a big mystery.
- Also, Knowledge of solar events is key to understanding space weather. Every storm that emerges from the Sun and heads towards Earth passes through L1.