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ISRO's Aditya-L1 enters Halo Orbit for Solar Studies
Aditya-L1's positioning at L1 is a testament to ISRO's growing expertise in space technology and a major step forward in global solar research. The mission's continuous monitoring of the Sun will provide invaluable insights into solar activities and their impacts, contributing significantly to our understanding of space weather phenomena.
ISRO's Aditya-L1 enters Halo Orbit for Solar Studies
by Simon Mansfield
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Jan 10, 2024

India's ambitious journey into solar exploration has achieved a significant milestone. The Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) maiden solar mission, Aditya-L1, has successfully reached its designated orbit in space, enabling continuous observation of the Sun. This achievement marks a critical step in India's expanding space exploration capabilities.

Launched in early September last year, Aditya-L1 has been on a trajectory towards the Sun. It has now settled into a halo orbit around the Sun-Earth Lagrange Point 1 (L1), a strategic location approximately 1.5 million kilometers from Earth in the direction of the Sun. The significance of this position lies in its stable gravitational balance between the Earth and the Sun, allowing for uninterrupted solar observations.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, acknowledging this landmark event in a social media post, described ISRO's mission as "a testament to the relentless dedication of our scientists." The success of Aditya-L1 not only demonstrates the capabilities of ISRO but also reinforces India's position in the global space research community.

The mission's scientific objectives are primarily focused on solar studies. Shantanu Bhowmik, an Aerospace Engineering expert at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore, and an adjunct professor at the Center for Future Materials, University of Southern Queensland, Australia, highlighted the mission's significance. He stated, "The high-resolution infrared camera of Aditya-L1 will extensively study the corona of the surface and the core of the Sun." Bhowmik elaborated that the mission aims to gather experimental information about the Sun's formation, its historical existence, and its future.

One intriguing aspect of the mission is the study of the Sun's temperature, with the surface being around 5,500 degrees Celsius and the core reaching up to 150,000 degrees Celsius. The Sun's surface is covered by ionized gas, known as plasma or corona, which is of particular interest to solar scientists. Bhowmik reassured that the temperature at L1, ranging between 300 and 400 degrees Celsius, is conducive for the payload's optimal functioning.

Sandip K Chakrabarti, director of the Indian Centre for Space Physics, pointed out that Aditya-L1 is the first mission by any Asian country to be placed in orbit around the Sun. The mission's instruments are designed to observe and scan the sun's outermost layers and delve into the mysteries of the sun-Earth connection. However, Chakrabarti expressed a reserved outlook regarding the potential scientific achievements, noting that while the orbit's complex 3D trajectory was commendably achieved, the onboard instruments are not particularly novel compared to past missions. He suggested that India should aim to launch similar satellites every five years for continuous solar monitoring.

Additionally, the Indian government announced a collaboration with Mauritius on Jan 5. This venture involves developing a small satellite, with the costs estimated at 200 million rupees ($2.4 million) to be borne by India. The project is expected to be completed in 15 months and is indicative of India's increasing engagement in international space collaborations.

Based on a Xinhua News Agency article

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NASA's Parker Solar Probe Completes 18th Close Approach to the Sun
Baltimore MD (SPX) Jan 09, 2024
NASA's Parker Solar Probe completed its 18th close approach to the Sun on Dec. 28, 2023, matching its own distance record by skimming just about 4.51 million miles (7.26 million kilometers) from the solar surface. The close approach (known as perihelion) occurred at 7:56 p.m. EST, with Parker Solar Probe traveling at 394,736 miles per hour (635,266 kilometers per hour) around the Sun - also matching the speed record for the 17th solar encounter. The milestone also marked the midway point in the mi ... read more

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