India’s 1st Sun Mission To Study Solar Winds: Know Why It’s Important

According to NASA, solar wind is a constant stream of particles and magnetic fields that is released by the Sun.

ISRO launched India’s first solar mission, Aditya-L1, on September 2 from the Sriharikota space centre in Andhra Pradesh. The mission is aimed at observing solar activities and their effects on space weather in real time.

Its objectives also include studying the upper atmosphere of the sun and its interaction with the solar wind. 

What are solar winds?

According to NASA, solar wind is a constant stream of particles and magnetic fields that is released by the Sun. These solar winds travel throughout the solar system and can reach the planetary surfaces unless they are deflected by an atmosphere or magnetic field, or both. 

On Earth, the magnetic field shields us from the solar winds. However, sometimes when the solar winds are intense, they can leak through and cause aurora near the poles.

When it comes to the Moon, solar winds hit its surface directly due to the thin atmosphere. Only a slight deflection by small bubbles of magnetic field across the surface of the Moon takes place. NASA says “This bombardment deposits ingredients that could make water”.

Why is it important to study solar winds?

ISRO’s Aditya-L1 spacecraft will be carrying seven payloads which include an in-situ payload called Aditya Solar Wind Particle Experiment (ASPEX). The payload will be tasked with measuring the composition and dynamics of the solar winds.

According to ISRO, the solar winds and other explosive solar events like the Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) can affect the nature of space. When the Earth’s magnetic field interacts with the field carried by CME, it can result in a magnetic disturbance near our planet. This can affect the functioning of space assets such as satellites. 

In some cases, solar winds can also trigger weather storms that can disrupt not only the satellites in space but also the ship communications and power grids on Earth. 

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