- Dipankar Banerjee who is an Indian solar physicist from Indian Institute of Astrophysics has been selected as a Co-Investigator of PUNCH mission by NASA.
- PUNCH stands for The Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere.
- The aim of the mission is to image and track the solar wind and coronal mass ejections
- Coronal mass ejections are huge masses of plasma that get thrown out of the Sun’s atmosphere.The coronal mass ejections can affect and drive space weather events near the Earth.
- The mission will also image the regions beyond the Sun’s outer corona. The mission is expected to be launched in 2022.
- PUNCH will consist of a ‘constellation’ of four suitcase-sized microsats that will orbit the Earth and study how the corona which is the atmosphere of the Sun which connects with the interplanetary medium.
- The team also plans to observe the Sun using joint observations from PUNCH and Indian mission Aditya which is underway.
- India is planning to send up its own satellite Aditya-L1, a mission to study the Sun’s corona, and Prof. Banerjee is the co-Chair of the Science Working Group.
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