- ISRO’s Aditya-L1 begins collecting scientific data on Solar exploration efforts.
- The Indian Space Research Organization on Monday announced that Aditya-L1 has commenced collecting scientific data, marking a milestone in India’s solar exploration efforts.
- The sensors of the STEPS instrument have begun measuring supra-thermal and energetic ions and electrons at distances greater than 50,000 km from Earth,”
- STEPS, equipped with six sensors observing in various directions, is responsible for measuring supra-thermal and energetic ions ranging from 20 (kiloelectronvolt) keV/nucleon to 5 (mega electron volt) MeV/nucleon, as well as electrons exceeding 1 MeV.
- The Aditya-L1 spacecraft, India’s first mission dedicated to studying the Sun, has been making significant strides.
- The spacecraft lifted off successfully on September 2, carrying seven different payloads designed for a detailed study of the Sun.
The Indian Space Research Organization shared that Aditya-L1 has commenced collecting scientific data, using the Supra Thermal and Energetic Particle Spectrometer (STEPS) instrument. “The sensors of the STEPS instrument have begun measuring supra-thermal and energetic ions and electrons at distances greater than 50,000 km from Earth,” Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on X.
STEPS will unravel the origin, acceleration, and anisotropy of solar wind and space weather phenomena. ISRO said, “These STEPS measurements will persist during the cruise phase of the Aditya-L1 mission as it progresses toward the Sun-Earth L1 point.”
STEPS was activated on September 10, 2023, when Aditya-L1 was 50,000 km away from Earth. “This distance is equivalent to more than 8 times the Earth’s radius, placing it well beyond Earth’s radiation belt region. After completing the necessary instrument health checks, data collection continued until the spacecraft had moved farther than 50,000 km from Earth”, ISRO said in a release.
STEPS was developed by the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) with support from the Space Application Centre (SAC) in Ahmedabad.
STEPS comprises six sensors, each observing in different directions and measuring supra-thermal and energetic ions ranging from 20 keV/nucleon to 5 MeV/nucleon, in addition to electrons exceeding 1 MeV.
These measurements are conducted using low and high-energy particle spectrometers. The data collected during Earth’s orbits helps scientists to analyze the behaviour of particles surrounding the Earth, especially in the presence of the magnetic field of Earth.
The mission lifted off from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on September 2.
The spacecraft has already completed two earth-bound orbital manoeuvres and will perform two more before being placed in the transfer orbit towards the Lagrange point L1. Aditya-L1 is expected to arrive at the intended orbit at the L1 point after 125 days.
Major objectives of the mission include the study of the physics of solar corona and its heating mechanism, the solar wind acceleration, coupling and dynamics of the solar atmosphere, solar wind distribution and temperature anisotropy, and origin of Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) and flares and near-earth space weather.
(With inputs from agencies)