In a historic achievement, the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Aditya L1 mission has successfully captured its first-ever high-energy X-ray glimpse of solar flares. Over the course of its initial observation period, which commenced on October 29, the High Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray Spectrometer (HEL1OS) on board the Aditya-L1 spacecraft recorded the impulsive phase of these awe-inspiring solar phenomena.
Solar flares, sudden and dramatic brightenings of the Sun’s atmosphere, have long fascinated scientists due to their tremendous energy release and electron acceleration. The recorded data from HEL1OS aligns closely with the X-ray light curves provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES). This remarkable feat showcases the potential of Aditya-L1 in monitoring the Sun’s high-energy X-ray activity with exceptional timing precision and high-resolution spectra.
The HEL1OS instrument was developed by the Space Astronomy Group of the U R Rao Satellite Centre, ISRO, Bengaluru. As the hard X-ray spectrometer on the Aditya-L1 Solar Mission, HEL1OS serves as a crucial tool for detecting flaring activities on the Sun, capable of capturing the early impulsive phase of solar activity. Flares exhibit enhanced emissions across various wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, including radio waves, optical, ultraviolet, soft X-rays, hard X-rays, and even gamma-rays. These emissions stem from accelerated particles and hot plasma, providing vital insights into the Sun’s behavior.
The Aditya-L1 spacecraft, positioned at the Sun-Earth Lagrangian point (L1) approximately 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, serves as a remote observatory of the solar corona and a platform for in-situ observations of the solar wind. Being India’s first dedicated space mission for studying the Sun, Aditya-L1 carries seven distinct payloads designed to observe different layers of the Sun, ranging from the photosphere and chromosphere to the outermost layer, the corona, across diverse wavebands.