The Indian Space Research Organisation on Saturday launched its first mission to study the sun, days after the agency made history by becoming the first to land a spacecraft near the south pole of the moon.
The Aditya-L1 spacecraft blasted off at 11.50 am from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
It is designed to cover a distance of about 1.5 million kilometers from the earth over four months and will then be placed in an orbit around the Lagrange Point 1, which is considered closest to the sun.
There are five Lagrange Points between any two celestial bodies and they act as “parking lot”, allowing objects to stay put because of balancing gravitational forces. This reduces fuel consumption by the spacecraft.
The major objectives of Saturday’s mission include understanding the problem of coronal heating and studying solar winds that can cause disturbance on earth.
Jagdev Singh, whose initial efforts helped in the development of the primary payload of the Aditya-L1 spacecraft, told the Hindustan Times ahead of the launch that he is confident of the mission’s success.
“This is the first time we will be getting data on the visible emission line...how changes in the solar corona are taking place, and how these small changes play a role in the heating of the plasma and transfer of energy from the chromosphere to the corona, etc,” the professor at Bengaluru’s Indian Institute of Astrophysics added. “We are expecting unique data. Till now, no one has managed to get continuous data, but we will be able to do it.”