Geotail

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News: CLASS, an instrument on Chandrayaan 2 had detected charged particles during the mission. This happened during the orbiter’s passage through the “geotail”.

Facts:

Geotail: The geotail is a region in space that allows the best observations. The region exists as a result of the interactions between the Sun and Earth. Once every 29 days, the Moon traverses the geotail for about six days.

Formation of Geotail:

  • The Sun emits the solar wind, which is a continuous stream of charged particles. These particles are embedded in the extended magnetic field of the Sun.
  • Since the Earth has a magnetic field, it obstructs the solar wind plasma. This interaction results in the formation of a magnetic envelope around Earth.
  • On the Earth side facing the Sun, the envelope is compressed into a region that is approximately three to four times the Earth radius.
  • On the opposite side, the envelope is stretched into a long tail, which extends beyond the orbit of the Moon. This tail is called the geotail.

Additional Information:

Chandrayaan 2:

  • Chandrayaan-2 is India’s second unmanned lunar mission after Chandryaan-1. It is the 1st Indian expedition to attempt a soft landing on moon with indigenous technology. However, the mission has unsuccessful in soft landing on moon.
  • The main aim of the Chandrayaan-2 mission is to conduct a detailed study of moon for a better understanding of its origin and evolution.
  • The Chandrayaan – 2 comprises of an a) Orbiter, b) Lander named ‘Vikram’ and c) Rover named ‘Pragyan’.
  • The Chandrayaan-2 mission was carrying 13 payloads. The Orbiter carries 8 payloads.
  • Chandrayaan-2 Large Area Soft X-Ray Spectrometer (CLASS) is one of the payloads in the Orbiter. It seeks to examine the presence of major elements such as magnesium, calcium, iron, titanium etc. in the lunar soil.