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
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
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
‘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
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.