The biggest European solar telescope will reveal the secrets of the Sun's mysteries

Every day the Sun shines overhead, giving us light and warmth.

The biggest European solar telescope will reveal the secrets of the Sun's mysteries

Every day the Sun shines overhead, giving us light and warmth. Although we have been watching the Sun for hundreds of years, we know very little about its closest star. This Tuesday, the European Solar Telescope (EST) was presented at the Residencia de Estudiantes Madrid by representatives of the Ministry of Science and Innovation (CSIC), the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands( IAC), and the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia-CSIC). It aims to change that situation.

It will be Europe's largest telescope and provide unique tools to study the Sun and its effects on space near Earth. It will have a height of 44 metres and a primary reflector of 4.2 meters. This will enable us to see the Sun's phenomena on a smaller scale. This will help us to understand how it functions.

Construction of EST should begin in 2024, and it will be operational by 2029 if everything goes according to plan. It was chosen because of its excellent conditions for astronomical observation. This is due to the fact that it is protected under law and is safe from electromagnetic fields, pollution control, and dark skies.

The European Solar Telescope

Mirrors will be carried by the EST

4m is designed to provide unprecedented spatial resolution for the investigation of the active Sun.

Planned to be in 2027

It will be installed on the Islands

Canary Islands are known for their beautiful beaches.

Conditions of

Observation

The European Solar Telescope

Mirrors will be carried by the EST

4m is designed to provide unprecedented spatial resolution for the investigation of the active Sun.

2027: Planned

The EST will thus be a neighbor to the Swedish Solar Telescope, (SST), whose 1 meter diameter mirror has provided the best images of Sun until the creation telescopes with 4-meter aperture mirrors.

The EST aims to investigate the magnetic field behavior in the Sun's photosphere and chromosphere. This will allow us to better understand how phenomena like sunspots or flares can be produced.

Luis Bellot (researcher at IAA-CSIC) explained that "magnetic field interactions happen very rapidly and they interact very frequently with one another very frequently. They suddenly release energy into space at speeds up to several thousand kilometers per hour, sometimes in the direction the earth." Geomagnetic storms that reach our planet can cause blackouts of electrical networks, damage satellites orbiting the earth, and disrupt radio communication. We are unable to see the magnetic fields that form with our current telescopes. This means we can't observe their evolution and interactions and cannot predict them. The EST will be equipped with seven state-of the-art instruments that simultaneously measure the solar magnetic field at all levels of the lower solar atmosphere. Its large aperture will allow us to study the Sun's magnet fields on a small scale for the very first time.

Anatomy of the Sun

convective zone

radiative zone

Tacoclina

Fulguration

Corona

Core

Boss

Phosphere

Sunspots

Granulation

Chromosphere

Transition region

Anatomy of the Sun

convective zone

Sunspots

Granulation

Tacoclina

Boss

radiative zone

Chromosphere

Core

Transition region

Fulguration

Phosphere

Corona

This means that the telescope can distinguish structures on the Sun at 30 km. It will be able to do this with unparalleled sharpness thanks to an advanced multiconjugate adaptive optical system. This will reduce the effects of turbulence in Earth's atmosphere which blurs telescope images.

Scientists will also attempt to solve another great mystery with the ETS: Why is the solar corona so far away from the core star so hotter than both the chromosphere or the photosphere? The plasma in the corona is more than one million degrees Celsius while the plasma in the chromosphere ranges from 4,000 to 25.000 oC. While there are strong indications that the magnetic field is responsible for this phenomenon, there are still many unknowns about the Sun.

The European Association of Solar Telescopes, coordinated by the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, promotes the project. Bellot stated that the start-up would allow Europe to continue its world leadership in Solar Physics. It will also have significant industrial and socioeconomic benefits to Spain due to its scientific, technological, and management contributions.

At the presentation ceremony, Emilio Garcia (IAA–CSIC) filmed the documentary "Reaching for the Sun". It retraces more than 400 years worth of history in Europe of the observation of the Sun. EST, which is a part of the current solar physics research.

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