UPSC Prelims News of 3 November 2022
Context: Recently, NASA released an image taken by its Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) where the Sun seems to have two dark eyes, a bright round nose and a wide-open smile.
- Dark areas that seemingly form a ‘face’ on the Sun are coronal holes.
About Coronal Holes
- These are regions on the sun’s surface from where fast solar wind gushes out into space.
- They contain little solar material; hence, they have lower temperatures and appear much darker than their surroundings.
- Here, the magnetic field is open to interplanetary space, sending solar material out in a high-speed stream of solar wind.
- Significance: Coronal holes are important for understanding the space environment around the earth through which technology and astronauts travel.
- Frequency: They appear throughout the sun’s approximately 11-year solar cycle.
- Coronal holes can last between a few weeks to months.
- They can last much longer during solar minimum – a period of time when activity on the Sun is substantially diminished.
- They sometimes interact with earth’s magnetic field, creating what’s called a geomagnetic storm.
About Geomagnetic Storms
- It relates to earth’s magnetosphere – the space around a planet that is influenced by its magnetic field.
- When a high-speed solar stream arrives at the earth, in certain circumstances it can allow energetic solar wind particles to hit the atmosphere over the poles.
- Such geomagnetic storms cause a major disturbance of the magnetosphere as there is a very efficient exchange of energy from the solar wind into the space environment surrounding earth.
- In cases of a strong solar wind reaching the earth, the resulting geomagnetic storm can cause changes in the ionosphere, part of the earth’s upper atmosphere.
- Radio and GPS signals travel through this layer of the atmosphere, and so communications can get disrupted.
About Solar Dynamics Observatory: NASA’s eyes on the Sun
- Launched in 2010, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory is a spacecraft that studies how solar activity happens and how that impacts the entire solar system.
- SDO takes observations of the Sun’s interior, surface and atmosphere.
ST Status to Pahari Community
Context: National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) proposed to include Pahari community in ST list of Jammu and Kashmir
About the News
- Commission has also recommended for the inclusion of the “Paddari tribe”, “Koli” and “Gadda Brahman” communities to be included in the ST list of J&K.
- Proposal is based on the commission set up for socially and educationally backward classes in the Union Territory, headed by Justice (Retd.) G.D. Sharma.
- After this, Ministry of Tribal Affairs will be required to bring a Bill in Parliament to amend the The Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order, 1989.
- Addition will be finalised once the President of India notifies the revised schedule as empowered by Article 342 of the Constitution of India.
- Currently, Jammu and Kashmir has 12 communities that have been notified as STs.
- Support to Pahari Community: Delimitation commission has reserved six of the nine Assembly segments in the Pir Panjal Valley for STs.
- Pir Panjal valley is also home to Gujjars and Bakarwals, who are already categorised as STs
About National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
- It is a constitutional body that was established by the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003.
- The Commission is an authority working for the economic development of Scheduled Tribes in India.
- The NCST is dealt with Article 338.
Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD)
Context: A new interceptor missile for Phase-II of indigenous two-tier ballistic missile defence (BMD) system has been successfully tested by DRDO.
- Only few countries such as US, Russia, Israel and China have fully operational BMD system that can track, warn and intercept incoming enemy targets.
Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) Interceptor Missile
- Phase-I: Missile of Phase-I of the BMD system can intercept enemy missiles with a range of 2,000 km, by flying with a speed of 4.5 Mach supersonic speed.
- Phase-II: Missile of Phase-II of BMD system is expected to counter enemy missiles with a range of 5,000 km.
- Operation: The missile under Phase-II, called AD-1, is designed for both low exo-atmospheric and endo-atmospheric interception of long-range ballistic missiles as well as aircraft.
- Features: The missile has a two-stage solid motor propeller and equipped with indigenously developed advanced control system, navigation and guidance algorithm to precisely guide the vehicle to the target.
- Interception: AD-1 can intercept Medium-range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) targets as it will have a range between 1000 to 3000 kms.
- The system can target different type of targets, both missiles and aircrafts.