India’s mission to study sun reaches its destination

 India’s first mission to study the sun reached its final destination at 1.5 million km from Earth on Saturday, from where it will study the outermost layers of the star for five years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

“India creates yet another landmark. India’s first solar observatory Aditya-L1 reaches its destination,” Modi wrote on the social media network X.

“It is a testament to the relentless dedication of our scientists in realising among the most complex and intricate space missions.”

Modi said he joined the nation in applauding the “extraordinary feat” and would continue to pursue new frontiers of science for the benefit of humanity.

The Aditya-L1 mission, named after the sun in Sanskrit, was launched by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in September.

The probe positioned itself at the first Lagrange point (L1), just 1 percent of the distance between the two celestial bodies, where the gravitational forces of the sun and Earth are in equilibrium and where it will get an uninterrupted view of the star.

“From Moon walk to sun Dance! What a glorious turn of year for Bharat (India),” Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh wrote on X.

“Under the visionary leadership of PM (Modi), yet another success story scripted by Team ISRO. AdityaL1 reaches its final orbit to discover the mysteries of sun-Earth connection.”

The probe was launched from the space center in Sriharikota in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh in September.

Equipped with seven payloads to examine the outermost layers of the sun, using electromagnetic and particle and magnetic field detectors, the Aditya-L1 weighs some 1,480.7 kilograms and ISRO expects it to remain in operation for about five years.

On Dec. 6, the probe captured its first space images, including the first full-disk pictures of the sun at wavelengths ranging from 200 to 400 nanometers.

With this mission, India joins a select group of countries that have sent probes to study the sun, including China, the United States, Japan, West Germany (before the reunification of Germany and in collaboration with NASA), as well as the European Space Agency (ESA).

The European Solar Orbiter probe, launched in February 2020, studies the sun from just 48 million kilometers from the star, while NASA’s Parker Solar Probe made history in 2021 by flying through the upper atmosphere of this star.

By usmana kousar