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.