Indian probe Aditya-L1 shares first images of space on its way to the sun
The Indian Space Agency (Isro) has shared the first-ever images sent back by the country’s solar monitoring mission as it makes its way towards the sun.
On September 4, Isro shared two stunning images captured by a camera mounted on the Aditya-L1 spacecraft. Named after the Hindi word for sun, Aditya-L1 is India’s first space solar probe.
– Isro (@isro) September 7, 2023
Isro posted the images in video form on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter.
One image shows the Earth and the Moon in one frame, while the Earth appears large, and the Moon is just a small speck in the distance.
The second image is a “portrait” of the Aditya-L1 solar probe itself, showing two of the seven science instruments used on the mission.
India’s mission to the sun
Aditya-L1 was launched on September 2 and is currently on a journey that will take it 932,000 miles from Earth – which is about 1% of the distance between Earth and the Sun. Isro says the Aditya-L1 will take about four months to reach its destination.
BBC Reports suggest that the L1 in Aditya-L1’s name stands for Lagrange point 1 — the exact spot between the Sun and Earth where the Indian spacecraft is heading.
According to the European Space Agency, the Lagrange point is where the gravitational forces of two large objects — such as the Sun and Earth — cancel each other out, allowing the spacecraft to “hover.”
Therefore, once Aditya-L1 reaches this ‘stopping ground’, it will be able to orbit around the Sun at the same rate as the Earth. This means that the satellite will require very little fuel to operate.
From this vantage point, he will be able to constantly observe the sun and conduct scientific studies.
Aditya-L1 will study the Sun to help scientists understand solar activity, such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections of charged particles that can spark beautiful auroras on Earth while causing danger to infrastructure like satellites.
In addition, it will study the “coronal heating problem” — that is, the Sun’s mysteriously hot outer atmosphere, which reaches temperatures of about 2 million degrees Fahrenheit.
If Aditya-L1 succeeds in its mission, India will be one of a select group of countries already studying the Sun.
Image credits: All images from Isro.