Bangalore: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch a series of rockets from its two launch centres between Thursday and Sunday to study Friday’s solar eclipse and its after-effects.
A rare and longest annular solar eclipse of this millennium will occur on Friday visible in the southern part of the country.
ISRO’s Thiruvananthapuram based the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) a series of Rohini Sounding Rockets from Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS), to investigate the effects of the solar eclipse on the atmosphere.
According to ISRO, four sounding rockets of series RH 200 and RH300MK II with peak altitudes of about 70kilometres and 116 kilometres respectively will be launched on Thursday to collect data. This will be followed by another five launches on Friday, the eclipse day.
Two larger Rohini rockets of the series RH 560 MK II will also be launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota, one each on Thursday and Friday, which will have a peak altitude of 548 kilometres.
‘The experiments will coordinate modern ground-based eclipse observations with in situ space measurements. Interpretation of eclipse data together with space data will give new insights to the earlier eclipse observations,” ISRO said in a statement.
“With so many atmospheric-ionospheric parameters being analysed, this is going to be one of the most comprehensive campaigns, ever attempted, during a solar eclipse anywhere in the world,” the statement added.
The nine-metre RH 560 rockets weigh 1.5 tonnes and carry a 100-kilograms payload of instruments each. The two-stage rocket will take the instruments 500 kilometres above the earth’s surface.
The rockets fired from TERLS are smaller than RH 560. They will reach 75 to 120 kilometres above the earth.