The Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT) instrument on board the Aditya-L1 spacecraft has successfully captured the first full-disk images of the Sun in the 200-400 nm wavelength range.

On September 2, Aditya-L1 was launched by PSLV-C57, and placed the satellite precisely into its intended orbit. Thus began India’s first solar observatory with Sun-Earth L1 point being the destination.

SUIT captures images of the Sun’s photosphere and chromosphere in this wavelength range using various scientific filters, says a release by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

On November 20, 2023, the SUIT payload was powered on. Following a successful pre-commissioning phase, the telescope captured its first light science images on December 6, 2023. The images, taken using eleven different filters, include the first-ever full-disk representations of the Sun in wavelengths ranging from 200 to 400 nm, excluding Ca II h. The full disk images of the Sun in the Ca II h wavelength have been studied from other observatories.

Among the notable features revealed are sunspots, plage, and quiet Sun regions, as marked in the Mg II h image, providing scientists with pioneering insights into the intricate details of the Sun’s photosphere and chromosphere. SUIT observations will help scientists study the dynamic coupling of the magnetised solar atmosphere and assist them in placing tight constraints on the effects of solar radiation on Earth’s climate, the release said.

The development of SUIT involved a collaborative effort under the leadership of the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune. This collaboration included ISRO; the Manipal Academy of Higher Education; the Centre for Excellence in Space Science Indian at IISER-Kolkata; the Indian Institute of Astrophysics Bengaluru; the Udaipur Solar Observatory and Tezpur University Assam, the release said.