GRAPES-3 Telescope upgraded to detect solar storms

The GRAPES-3 experiment at TIFR’s (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research) Cosmic Ray Laboratory in Ootacamund in Tamil Nadu is getting upgraded to detect solar storms.

GRAPES-3 (Gamma Ray Astronomy PeV EnergieS phase-3) experiment had detected the effect of a solar storm that hit the earth in June 2015.

Key Facts
  • GRAPES-3 has an important role in understanding the propagation of storms from the L1 point (Lagrange point 1) to its impact on the Earth.
  • The upgraded detector will have an increased coverage and improved capacity to determine the direction of incident cosmic rays.
  • It will play a major role in getting precise information about the propagation of storms in the last million miles (from the L-1 point) of their journey from the Sun to the earth.
Background

The Sun is at a distance of 150 million kilometres from the earth. Satellites are placed at a distance of nearly 1.5 million kilometres, at the so-called L1 point (between Earth and Sun), where they orbit the Sun along with the Earth. The satellites act as an early warning system as the charged particles from a solar storm first impact the satellites before hitting the earth.

About GRAPES 3 experiment

The GRAPES-3 experiment is located at Ooty in India. It was started as a collaboration of the TIFR and the Japanese Osaka City University, and now also includes the Japanese Nagoya Women’s University. It is specially designed to study cosmic rays with an array of air shower detectors and a large area muon detector. It aims to probe acceleration of cosmic rays in the four astrophysical settings.

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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