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Chandrayaan captures solar eclipse images

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Earth's image captured by Chandrayaan-1 during total solar eclipse on 22 July. Image Credit: ISRO

NEW DELHI (BNS): Despite the recent technical glitch caused due to the malfunctioning of its star sensor, Chandrayaan-1 has successfully captured the shadow of the moon falling on earth’s surface during last week’s total solar eclipse.

“Chandrayaan tracked the movement of shadow of the moon on the earth's surface during the total solar eclipse. The high resolution images shot by the TMC from 7.45 a.m. show the moon's shadow spreading from north-eastern China to northern parts of Australia,” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Director S. Satish was quoted as saying by news agencies on Tuesday.

The series of images, taken by the special terrain mapping camera (TMC) on board the spacecraft on July 22, clearly show the dark shadow of the umbra (darkest) region during the eclipse. ISRO released the pictures after receiving them at its Deep Space Network (DSN) centre at Baylalu, about 40 km from Bangalore.

“The digital images were processed and scanned at our space applications centre in Ahmedabad and telemetry, tracking and command network (Istrac) in Bangalore. The capturing of the celestial event confirms that the spacecraft is satisfactorily orbiting the moon at 200 km with all its payloads," Satish said.

Chandrayaan-1 – Indian’s maiden mooncraft – was launched on 22, October last year. It suffered a setback in April-May when its star sensor malfunctioned and it lost orientation due to excessive radiation of the sun when it was orbiting at 100 km above the lunar surface.

ISRO scientists overcame the problem by using antenna-pointing mechanism and gyroscope on board the spacecraft.

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