The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is gearing up to launch the country’s first solar mission, Aditya L-1 on September 2. ISRO informed earlier that the Aditya L-1 will be launched at 11:50 am from Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota.
India’s first space observatory for solar research will study the solar atmosphere, solar wind and solar corona. The spacecraft, which will carry seven payloads, will study the Sun from an orbit around the L-1.
The Aditya L-1 weighs 1,500 kg and will be launched using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). It will be placed in a halo orbit, which is around 1.5 million kilometres from the Earth, ISRO said.
While Aditya L-1 marks India’s first solar mission, here’s a look at all the other spacecraft studying the Sun:
Parker Solar Probe
In 2018, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched the Parker Solar Probe, which is currently studying the Sun “closer than any other spacecraft.” In 20221, America’s spacecraft became the first one to fly through the outer atmosphere of the Sun.
On February 9, 2020, NASA launched a joint mission Solar Orbiter along with The European Space Agency (ESA). As per the official ESA site, the highlight of this mission was, “The closest-ever images of the Sun, the first-ever close-up images of the Sun’s polar regions, measuring the composition of the solar wind and linking it to its area of origin on the Sun’s surface.”
Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO)
SOHO was yet another joint mission between NASA and ESA. This international collaboration project was launched on December 2, 1995. ESA states that the objectives of SOHO are, “Staring at the Sun, SOHO’s studies range from the Sun’s interior, its visible surface and stormy atmosphere, to where the solar wind blows in distant regions of our Solar System.”
Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE)
On August 25, 1997, USA launched ACE, with an objective to “collect and analyze particles of solar, interplanetary, interstellar and galactic origins.” The spacecraft began its operations on January 21, 1998.
Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS)
NASA Launched IRIS on June 27, 2013. The objective of this small explorer mission was to “observe how solar material moves, gathers energy, and heats up as it travels through a little-understood region in the Sun’s lower atmosphere.”
On November 1, 1994, NASA launched a spin-stabilized spacecraft with a Delta II rocket. WIND was inserted into the halo orbit in 2020.
Hinode is led by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA in collaboration with the United States’s NASA, the UK and Europe. It was launched on September 23, 2006, on a Japanese M-V rocket out of Kagoshima.
Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)
SDO has been NASA‘s “unblinking eye on the Sun” since it was launched on February 11, 2010. NASA said, “SDO studies how solar activity is created and drives space weather.”
Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO)