India's solar mission spacecraft, Aditya-L1 on Tuesday (Nov 7) captured the first high-energy X-ray glimpse of solar flares.
ISRO, while sharing an update on the recent development, noted that during its first observation period from Oct 29, the High Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray Spectrometer (HEL1OS) on board Aditya-L1 spacecraft has recorded the impulsive phase of solar flares.
“Commissioned on October 27, 2023, HEL1OS is currently undergoing fine-tuning of thresholds and calibration operations. The instrument is set to monitor the Sun's high-energy X-ray activity with fast timing and high-resolution spectra,” ISRO said in a statement.
What is a solar flare?
A solar flare is a sudden brightening of the solar atmosphere. Flares produce enhanced emission in all wavelengths across the electromagnetic spectrum – radio, optical, UV, soft X-rays, hard X-rays and gamma-rays.
HEL1OS data enables researchers to study explosive energy release and electron acceleration during impulsive phases of solar flares.
"The instrument is set to monitor the sun's high-energy X-ray activity with fast timing and high-resolution spectra," ISRO wrote on its X timeline.
It was developed by the Space Astronomy Group of the U. R. Rao Satellite Centre, ISRO, Bengaluru.Earlier in Oct, Aditya-L1 escaped the sphere of Earth's influence.
"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," ISRO had said in a statement.
India’s maiden sun mission was launched on September 2 from the Second Launch Pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota.
It is equipped with seven scientific payloads developed indigenously by the ISRO and various national research laboratories, including the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) and the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), in the Indian cities of Bengaluru and Pune, respectively.
These payloads are designed to study the photosphere, chromosphere, and the outermost layers of the Sun, known as the corona, using electromagnetic, particle, and magnetic field detectors.
Positioned at the advantageous L1 point, four of these payloads will directly observe the Sun, while the remaining three will conduct in-situ studies of particles and fields at Lagrange point L1.