The Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT) aboard the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Aditya-L1 spacecraft has captured the first-ever full-disk images of the Sun in near ultraviolet wavelengths.
This remarkable achievement, announced on Friday, marks a significant milestone in solar observation and research.
The pioneering images, which cover a wavelength range from 200 to 400 nanometers, offer unprecedented insights into the Sun’s photosphere and chromosphere—the visible “surface” of the Sun and the transparent layer just above it, respectively.
These layers are crucial for understanding various solar phenomena, including sunspots, flares, and prominences, which can have profound effects on space weather and Earth’s climate.
SUIT was powered on November 20, 2023, and after a successful pre-commissioning phase, it captured its first light science images on December 6, 2023.
The telescope utilises eleven different filters to provide detailed observations of the Sun’s atmosphere, revealing features such as sunspots, plage regions, and the quiet Sun. These filters allow scientists to study the dynamic coupling of the magnetized solar atmosphere and the effects of solar radiation on Earth’s climate.
Developed by a team of 50 scientists, researchers, and students from Pune’s Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), SUIT is one of seven payloads onboard Aditya-L1.
The mission aims to address core questions about the propagation of energy from the photosphere to the chromosphere and beyond, the triggers behind dynamic solar events, and the initial kinematics of erupting prominences.
The data collected by SUIT will revolutionize our comprehension of solar atmospheric dynamics, shedding light on the intricate coupling and energy transfer mechanisms within the Sun’s layers.
By capturing images at different heights of the solar atmosphere, SUIT will also contribute to our understanding of the Sun-climate relationship and the potential impact of UV radiation on skin cancer risks.
As Aditya-L1 continues its journey to the Lagrange Point 1, the scientific community had been eagerly anticipating the first images from India’s maiden solar probe.