ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) on Thursday in its new update revealed that the Chandrayaan 2 orbiter is observing solar flare by the Solar X-ray Monitor fitted onboard. The space agency said that the Chandrayaan 2 orbiter carries two instruments, namely Chandrayaan 2 Large Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer (or referred to as CLASS) and Solar X-ray Monitor ( also known as XSM) which measure the lunar elemental composition using this technique.
“Here, the CLASS payload detects the characteristic lines from the lunar surface, and the XSM payload simultaneously measures the solar X-ray spectrum,” ISRO explained it its latest statement.
ISRO has shared a graph chart measuring a series of small flares measured by XSM during the period 30th September 2019 00:00 UTC - 1st October 2019 23:59 UTC. The data measured by XSM has been compared with the solar X-ray flux measured by X-ray sensor on the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-15).
“It shows that XSM is able to detect the intensity variations of the Sun much beyond the sensitivity limit of GOES,” ISRO adds in its statement. The GOES data was obtained from the National Center for Environmental Information of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA.
“Apart from the better sensitivity, XSM also measures the spectrum of solar X-ray in the energy range of 1 - 15 keV with highest energy resolution so far for any broadband solar X-ray spectrometer over intervals as short as 1 second,” ISRO added.
Chandrayaan 2 orbiter is sending solar flare data, but ISRO says that it won’t be enough for studying the lunar surface composition because of the large angle between Sun, lunar surface and the Chandrayaan 2. ISRO says that the angled gap is close to 90 degrees in this case against a desirable low value, close to zero. However, ISRO adds that XSM observations provide very useful data to understand various processes on the Sun.