Aditya L1 escapes sphere of Earth’s influence: ISRO
Cruising through its journey to its final destination—the Sun-Earth Lagrange Point-1—India’s first observatory to study the Sun, Aditya-L1 spacecraft, has travelled a distance of over 9.2lakh kms from the Earth, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) said on Saturday.
“The spacecraft has travelled beyond a distance of 9.2 lakh kilometres from Earth, successfully escaping the sphere of Earth’s influence. It is now navigating its path towards the Sun-Earth Lagrange Point 1 (L1),” Isro said in a statement on Saturday.
The space agency added, “This is the second time in succession that ISRO could send a spacecraft outside the sphere of influence of the Earth, the first time being the Mars Orbiter Mission.”
On September 2, the Indian space agency launched the Aditya-L1 spacecraft—the country’s maiden mission to study the Sun—from the spaceport in Sriharikota. After the launch, a series of Earth-bound manoeuvres were also performed to ensure that the craft gathers enough momentum to be launched into its 125-day journey.
The mission will allow India’s scientists to unlock new insights about the centre of our solar system, by ensuring uninterrupted observations of the Sun. The spacecraft is meant to be placed in a halo orbit around L1 of the Sun-Earth system, which is about 1.5 million km from the Earth. To be sure, this point is only 1% of the Earth-Sun distance.
After a series of these manoeuvres, the Aditya-L1 spacecraft will finally be placed at Lagrange Point-1 or L1, from where it will start at least a five-year study to understand various aspects of the Sun—the nearest star to Earth. The L1 point in space will ensure that the force of gravity of the nearest celestial entities cancels each other out, helping the craft remain in equilibrium.
This point will give the craft the advantage of continuous observations without any accultation or eclipses, providing uninterrupted data to study the Sun’s corona, its photon release and its environment.
According to the space agency, the mission was conceived as Aditya-1 with a 400 kg class satellite carrying one payload, the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph VELC, that was to be launched in an 800-km low earth orbit. Isro scientists said the instruments of Aditya-L1 are tuned to observe the solar atmosphere mainly, the chromosphere and the corona --- two outermost layers of the star. The instruments will observe the local environment at L1 and carry out remote sensing and observation.