ISRO's Aditya-L1 Spacecraft Captures Solar Fury with Onboard Instruments


ISRO's Aditya-L1 Spacecraft Captures Solar Fury with Onboard Instruments
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has released detailed observations of the significant solar storm that struck Earth on May 11, 2024. These observations were made by the Aditya L1 spacecraft, which is positioned at key locations. The solar storm was caused by the eruption of several powerful X-class and M-class flares, along with coronal mass ejections (CMEs) from the Sun's active region AR13664, one of the largest sunspots ever recorded. These eruptions occurred between May 8 and 9, leading to the geomagnetic storm on Earth.
ISRO's Aditya-L1 spacecraft, located at the Sun-Earth L1 Lagrange point, played a crucial role in capturing this event. Its remote sensing payloads, SoLEXS and HEL1OS, recorded the X-class and M-class flares on May 8-9, while its in-situ payloads, ASPEX and MAG, observed the storm's signatures as it passed through L1 on May 10-11. Additionally, ISRO's lunar orbiter Chandrayaan-2 provided valuable observations from its unique vantage point around the Moon. Its Solar X-ray Monitor (XSM) detected not only the X-rays from the solar flares but also an increase in the local high-energy particle environment.
After completing calibration and baking operations, Aditya-L1's Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT) and Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC) resumed observations on May 14. SUIT captured images in narrow bands, revealing bright active regions on the solar disk, signifying magnetically active areas where large flares can originate as the Sun approaches solar maximum. VELC conducted raster scans of the solar corona in the 5303 Angstrom emission line, providing insights into coronal activities. The raster image assembled from these scans clearly shows the location of AR13664, marked by a box.
Raster scanning is a technique used to generate images on screens, including televisions, computer monitors, and various imaging systems. This method involves scanning an image line by line from top to bottom, usually following a left-to-right pattern. Ground-based facilities, such as the Udaipur Solar Observatory (USO) of the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), also contributed to ISRO's comprehensive observations of this notable solar event.
By merging data from various spacecraft and ground stations, ISRO has assembled a comprehensive dataset on this intense solar storm. This facilitates detailed analysis and enhances our understanding of space weather phenomena that can influence Earth's atmosphere and technology.