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Post at: May 02 2022

VIGIL Mission:Earth’s devoted solar defender

Why in news

  • In February 2022,European Space Agency (ESA) unveiled the new name and logo of its future space weather mission VIGIL.
  • The term Vigil,in Latin, “vigilis exceptus” means sentinel or guard, while “vigil” means to watch, to keep alert at night, and the act of standing vigilantly on guard.
  • The mission was previously named "Lagrange" after the location the mission spacecraft will be sent.

Key Highlights

How would the Vigil mission defend the Earth?

  • In a new report by ESA, the agency revealed that it will launch the Vigil spacecraft to the fifth Lagrange point which is 150 million kilometres from both Earth and the sun.

  • As you can see in the graphic below, the L5 is the fifth Lagrange point which is located at an equal distance from both the Sun and Earth.
  • On the other hand, the James Webb Space Telescope and the Gaia spacecraft, also launched by ESA are located at the second Lagrange point (L2). 

  • At L1, the spacecraft will measure the density, speed, dynamic pressure, and temperature of the solar radiation, similarly because of the charged particle environment and therefore the strength and direction of the interplanetary field of force.
  • By providing a side-view of the propagation of plasma clouds released by the Sun toward Earth, the spacecraft at L5 would complement the measurements made of L1.
  • The spacecraft at L5 would stream a constant feed of near-real-time data on potentially hazardous solar activity, before rolling into the view of the Earth. 
  • At L5, the spacecraft would also conduct measurements of the interplanetary space and monitor the solar disk and corona.
  • Trailing behind Earth at the fifth Lagrange point, ESA’s Vigil will see the side of the Sun, observing conditions before they rotate around to face our home.


  • This mission would provide a sneak peek of potentially hazardous solar activities owing to its position around the Sun.
  • Monitoring of the space incidences will help in predicting the timing of its arrival on Earth and any effect it would wear on infrastructure.

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