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Aditya-L1 solar mission

GS paper 3

 Syllabus: Science and Technology: Space


Source: HT, IE


Context:  The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch the Aditya-L1 solar mission on September 2, 2023.

More about the news:

  • The spacecraft will be launched from the Sriharikota spaceport on the PSLV rocket.
  • Aim: Aditya-L1 aims to study the Sun from a halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) of the Sun-Earth systems, about 1.5 million km away from Earth.

We already discussed Aditya-L1 a few days back in our FFP. Here we will analyse its significance.


Mission ObjectiveTo study the Sun, its upper atmospheric dynamics (chromosphere and corona), and understand the physics of the solar corona and its heating mechanism for the five-year time period.

Launch VehiclePolar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)
OrbitL1 orbit (First Lagrange point of the Sun-Earth system)
Primary PayloadVisible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC)
Other PayloadsSolar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT), Solar Low Energy X-ray Spectrometer (SoLEXS), High Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray Spectrometer (HEL1OS), Aditya Solar wind Particle EXperiment (ASPEX), Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya (PAPA)
Significance of VELCVELC is a solar coronagraph capable of simultaneous imaging, spectroscopy, and spectro-polarimetry. It can image the solar corona down to 1.05 times the solar radius.
Purpose of Studying the SunTo gain a deeper understanding of the Sun’s radiation, heat, flow of particles, and magnetic fields; provide clues about the high temperature of the solar corona; understand space weather dynamics; and offer early warnings for solar events.
Importance of L1 PointL1 point provides an unobstructed view of the Sun, even during phenomena like an eclipse; allows payloads to directly observe the Sun; makes the mission fuel-efficient.
Significance of Lagrange PointsLagrange points are equilibrium positions in space where the gravitational forces of two large bodies, like the Earth and the Sun, produce enhanced regions of attraction and repulsion.
Benefits of Studying the Sun from SpaceProvides more detailed information due to the absence of Earth’s atmosphere; helps understand solar phenomena; enables monitoring of solar events and their potential impacts on Earth.


Other Solar Missions by Different Countries:

United States·        Parker Solar Probe (August 2018): Touched the Sun’s upper atmosphere, sampled particles and magnetic fields in December 2021

·        Solar Orbiter (February 2020): Explores the Sun’s changing space environment

Japan·        Hinotori (ASTRO-A, 1981): Studied solar flares using hard X-rays

·        Yohkoh (SOLAR-A, 1991): Studied solar activity

·        Hinode (SOLAR-B, 2006): Studied the Sun’s impact on Earth.

Europe·        Ulysses (October 1990): Studied space environment above and below the Sun’s poles

·        Proba-2 (October 2001): Part of solar exploratory missions.

·        Upcoming: Proba-3 (2024), Smile (2025)

ChinaAdvanced Space-based Solar Observatory (ASO-S, October 2022): Launched to observe the Sun.


The Aditya-L1 mission by ISRO holds significant importance for India due to its focus on studying the Sun and the solar corona. This mission aims to achieve the following:

  • Scientific Understanding: The mission’s primary objective is to deepen our understanding of the Sun, its radiation, magnetic fields, and the flow of particles.
  • Space Weather Forecasting: By studying the Sun’s behaviour, the mission can contribute to predicting space weather events, such as solar flares, that can disrupt satellite communications and other technologies on Earth.
  • Technological Advancement: Developing a space-based observatory to study the Sun demonstrates India’s technological prowess in space exploration and adds to its reputation in the global space community.
  • International Collaboration: Participating in solar research aligns with international efforts to understand the Sun and its effects.
  • Education and Inspiration: The mission inspires future scientists, engineers, and researchers by showcasing India’s achievements in space science and encouraging the pursuit of space-related careers.
  • Data for Innovation: The collected data can lead to innovations in technology, materials science, and various other fields that can benefit India’s technological landscape.


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Discuss India’s achievements in the field of Space Science and Technology. How the application of this technology has helped India in its socio-economic development? (UPSC 2016)


Prelims Links: (UPSC 2013)

Consider the following phenomena:

  1. Size of the sun at dusk
  2. Colour of the sun at dawn
  3. Moon being visible at dawn
  4. Twinkle of stars in the sky
  5. Polestar being visible in the sky



Which of the above are optical illusions?

(a) 1, 2 and 4 only

(b) 3, 4 and 5 only

(c) 1, 2 and 4 only

(d) 2, 3 and 5 only