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Solar missions launched by other countries: 2000 to present

After the successful Chandrayaan-3 Moon mission, ISRO is getting ready for its next big adventure – exploring the Sun! In early September, ISRO will launch the Aditya-L1 spacecraft, a mission aimed at discovering more about our closest star. On September 2, the spacecraft will start its journey. Since the year 2000, countries worldwide have sent special missions to study the Sun, revealing secrets about its behavior and magnetic fields, and how they affect space weather. This article takes a peek at some of these missions, giving us a glimpse into their goals and why they matter.

Solar missions launched by other countries: 2000 to present
Solar missions launched by other countries: 2000 to present

1. SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory)

  • Country: Joint mission by ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA (United States)
  • Launch: December 2, 1995 (though operational in the 2000s)
  • Objective: Study the Sun’s interior, outer atmosphere, and solar wind.

2. STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory)

  • Country: NASA (United States)
  • Launch: October 25, 2006
  • Objective: Study solar phenomena, including coronal mass ejections, by providing stereoscopic observations of the Sun.

3. Hinode (Solar-B)

  • Country: Japan (JAXA) with international collaboration
  • Launch: September 22, 2006
  • Objective: Study the Sun’s magnetic field and its influence on the solar atmosphere.

4. SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory)

  • Country: NASA (United States)
  • Launch: February 11, 2010
  • Objective: Observe the Sun in various wavelengths to understand its magnetic field, solar activity, and influence on space weather.

5. IRIS (Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph)

  • Country: NASA (United States)
  • Launch: June 28, 2013
  • Objective: Study the interface between the Sun’s photosphere and corona to understand the dynamics of this region.

6. Solar Orbiter

  • Country: ESA (European Space Agency) with NASA collaboration
  • Launch: February 9, 2020
  • Objective: Study the Sun’s polar regions and the solar wind to understand the Sun-Earth connection.

7. Parker Solar Probe

  • Country: NASA (United States)
  • Launch: August 12, 2018
  • Objective: Approach the Sun closer than any previous mission, studying its outer atmosphere and solar wind.

8. BepiColombo

  • Country: ESA and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency)
  • Launch: October 20, 2018
  • Objective: Primarily a mission to Mercury, but it carries instruments to study the solar wind and solar energetic particles.

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