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ISRO’s PAPA: A Milestone in Understanding Solar Phenomena



  Feb 24, 2024

ISRO’s PAPA: A Milestone in Understanding Solar Phenomena



The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has made a significant advancement in space weather monitoring with its Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya (PAPA) payload aboard the Aditya-L1 spacecraft. This sophisticated instrument has successfully detected the impact of coronal mass ejections (CMEs), a crucial solar phenomenon, marking a pivotal achievement in space science.

Understanding Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs)

Coronal Mass Ejections are massive bursts of solar wind, plasma, and magnetic fields rising above the solar corona or being released into space. These ejections can have profound effects on space weather, potentially disrupting satellite operations, communications, and power grids on Earth.

PAPA’s Role in Solar Wind Detection

PAPA is specifically designed to measure the solar wind’s electrons and ions, focusing on the low energy range. It features two main sensors:

1. Solar Wind Electron Energy Probe (SWEEP): This sensor measures electrons within the energy range of 10 eV to 3 keV, providing detailed insights into the electron dynamics of solar wind.

2. Solar Wind Ion Composition Analyser (SWICAR): This sensor measures ions in the energy range of 10 eV to 25 keV and mass range of 1-60 atomic mass units (amu), offering a comprehensive understanding of solar wind’s ion composition.

These sensors also have the capability to determine the direction of arrival of solar wind particles, enhancing the accuracy of solar wind analysis.

PAPA’s Impact on Space Weather Monitoring

Since its operation commencement on December 12, 2023, PAPA has been continuously observing solar wind electrons and ions, proving its design’s efficacy in all operational modes. The successful detection of CME impacts, particularly those during February 10-11, 2024, underscores PAPA’s vital role in monitoring space weather conditions. Its observations are instrumental in analyzing solar phenomena, contributing significantly to our understanding of the Sun’s influence on space weather.

Conclusion

ISRO’s deployment of PAPA on the Aditya-L1 spacecraft represents a critical step forward in space weather research. By providing detailed measurements of solar wind particles, PAPA enhances our ability to predict and mitigate the effects of solar phenomena on space and ground-based technologies. This achievement not only demonstrates ISRO’s capability in advanced space research but also contributes to global efforts in understanding and managing space weather risks.

SRIRAM’s


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