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Aditya L-1 payload HEL1OS captures first high-energy X-ray glimpse of solar flares

ISRO's HEL1OS on Aditya L-1 successfully captures initial high-energy X-ray view of solar flares, marking a significant breakthrough in solar observation.

Aditya L-1 payload HEL1OS captures first high-energy X-ray glimpse of solar flares snt
First Published Nov 7, 2023, 8:38 PM IST

The High Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray Spectrometer (HEL1OS), linked to ISRO's Aditya L-1, has successfully captured the initial high-energy X-ray view of solar flares, marking a significant scientific breakthrough. During its inaugural observation period beginning around October 29, the instrument recorded the impulsive phase of solar flares, providing valuable insights into solar activity.

Solar flares, characterized as sudden intensifications in the solar atmosphere, were the subject of the HEL1OS' recent observations. These flares generate increased emissions across the electromagnetic spectrum, spanning various wavelengths, including radio, optical, UV, soft X-rays, hard X-rays, and gamma-rays.

In an official release, ISRO stated, "Flares produce enhanced emission in all wavelengths across the electromagnetic spectrum - radio, optical, UV, soft X-rays, hard X-rays and gamma-rays. Flare emission consists of emissions from accelerated particles and hot plasma. Though solar flares have been studied in X-rays and gamma-rays for decades, the initial impulsive emission is very difficult to characterise and understand. The impulsive hard X-ray emission has multiple spectral components which are highly time variable. HEL1OS aims to overcome these difficulties by having a set of detectors specifically tuned to cater to different energy ranges and also provides very high spectral and time resolution measurements."

"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," it added.

"HEL1OS data enables researchers to study explosive energy release and electron acceleration during impulsive phases of solar flares," ISRO added. 

Developed by the Space Astronomy Group at the U R Rao Satellite Centre, Bengaluru, HEL1OS marks a crucial addition to India's space exploration endeavors. The Aditya-L1 spacecraft, designed for remote solar corona observations and solar wind analysis at the Sun-Earth Lagrangian point L1, approximately 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, is a pioneering Indian space mission devoted to the study of the Sun.

The mission encompasses seven distinct payloads aimed at examining various layers of the Sun, from the photosphere to the corona, in diverse wavebands. This fully indigenous effort involves the collaboration of national institutions.

An ISRO scientist affirmed to PTI that successfully capturing the initial High-Energy X-ray view of Solar Flares indicates that the Aditya-L1 mission is progressing as anticipated, marking a significant milestone in solar observation.

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