This instrument can read X ray emissions as well as identify elements that are present on the surface of the moon.
Spanning 24 hours, the ISRO’s recent update states that the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter detected a series of solar flares starting September 30 midnight. Curious to understand what exactly are solar flares? Solar flares refer to a sudden explosion of energy close to the surface of the Sun. In this context, the solar flares were detected with the help of Chandrayaan-2 orbiter’s Solar X-ray Monitor, also known as XSM, thereby showcasing its ability to test for the presence of minerals on the Moon. ISRO observes that the solar cycle has been heading towards minima, and the Sun has been quiet for past few months till a series of small flares were detected by the XSM on September 30th, midnight.
In its latest update, ISRO has stated that it would not be able to do much based on these current readings for a simple reason – the unfavorable angles at which the positions of the orbiter, the moon and the sun are placed at present.
A pertinent question – what makes the ISRO’s latest update pertaining to solar flares significant?
The new findings remain significant as this further tests an important piece of equipment that is on board the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter. Notably, two instruments are on board the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, which we will delve upon next.
The space agency had also shared a graph measuring a series of small solar flares, which were measured by XSM.
Solar flare measured by XSM instrument of #Chandrayaan2 and GOES-15 of US during 30th September to 1st October 2019.
Clearly XSM provides very detailed information which will help in understanding various processes on the Sun.
Details at https://t.co/OccLzYCfZp pic.twitter.com/SBb9ZztZlv
— ISRO (@isro) October 10, 2019
Also, there is another instrument on board the the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, which is the Chandrayaan 2 Large Area Soft X-Ray Spectrometer. This instrument can read X ray emissions as well as identify elements that are present on the surface of the moon. Also, by detection of such characteristic X-rays, other major elements of the lunar surface can be identified.
As per ISRO’s update, Chandrayaan-2 requires more data about these solar X-rays to understand the concentration of these elements. Summing up, it can be said that the XSM and its findings remain relevant as its observations help to understand the various processes on the Sun.