The Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) has finished building the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC), the largest payload that would fly on the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO’s) Aditya L-1 mission, and will formally hand over the payload to the space agency on Thursday, January 26. This is a milestone in the development of space astronomy in India, an IIA official was quoted as saying in a PTI report.
All about Aditya-L1
The Aditya L-1 mission is set to become India’s first scientific mission to study the Sun, and is expected to be launched by the middle of the year. Aditya L-1 is a planned coronagraphy spacecraft to study the solar atmosphere.
A 400-kilogram satellite will be launched to a halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) of the Sun-Earth system. Langrangian points are points in space where objects sent there tend to stay put, with L1 being the most significant. L1 is located 1.5 million kilometres from Earth.
Since Aditya L-1 will be placed around L1, it can continuously view the Sun. The satellite will be equipped with a total of seven payloads, including the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph.
The main objective of the mission is to observe the Sun’s corona, a term used to describe the outer layers of Earth’s host star. The project also aims to understand the dynamic processes taking place within the Sun.
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Aditya L-1 will also observe the Sun’s photosphere and chromosphere. According to ISRO, the seven payloads will provide greater advantage of observing the solar activities and their effect on space weather.
The IIA built the VELC payload at its Centre for Research and Education in Science and Technology (CREST) campus at Hoskote. VELC is one of the largest and most technically challenging of the seven payloads that will fly on Aditya L-1.
Initially, the space mission was conceived as Aditya-1, and was planned to be launched into an 800-kilometre orbit. However, it was later decided that Aditya L-1 will be inserted in a halo orbit around the L1.
The other six payloads that will be carried by Aditya L-1 are Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope, Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya, High Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray Spectrometer, Aditya Solar Wind Particle Experiment, Solar Low Energy X-ray Spectrometer, and Magnetometer.
According to the PTI report, ISRO officials said the scientific studies by Aditya-L1 will enhance researchers’ current understanding of the solar corona and also provide vital data for space weather studies.
VELC is a solar coronagraph and will perform tasks such as imaging and spectroscopy, which is the study of absorption and emission of light, and other radiation by matter.