Rockets launch by ISRO to study solar eclipse

A series of rockets will be launched by the Indian space agency from its two centres between Thursday and Sunday to study Friday's solar eclipse and its after effects. Arrangements are being made by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to send up a series of sounding rockets. These rockets are to carry instruments to measure the physical parameters of the upper atmosphere – from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh and Thumba in Kerala to study the effects of the solar eclipse. The solar eclipse on Friday will be for a duration of 11.8 minutes. The sounding rockets will be fired before and after.

The nine-meter RH 560 rockets weigh 1.5 tonnes and carry a 100-kg payload of instruments each. The two-stage rocket will take the instruments 500 km above the earth's surface. From Sriharikota, there will be one launch each on Friday and Sunday. ISRO's Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in Kerala is to launch most of the rockets. On Thursday four rockets will be launched from TERLS and five on Friday. The rockets fired from TERLS are smaller than RH 560. They will reach 75 to 120 km above the earth.