A team of international professionals, mainly well-respected scientists, recently gathered at Queen’s University Belfast to finalize the plans for a next-generation telescope that aims to demystify the science of the Sun.
A truly revolutionary designed telescope, the European Solar Telescope, or EST, is currently being constructed in order to carry out this investigative and ground-breaking mission. It will be an impressive 13 feet long and boasts an incredible resolution which is currently unheard of. It is in a league of its own, by all rights.
“Currently we know very little about the Sun. It gives us light and energy which are indispensable for life on Earth. It is a very dynamic and active system with changes that could potentially have dramatic consequences for our civilization. However, we don’t know the processes that operate in the Sun’s atmosphere. We are unable to predict them and therefore we are unable to forecast the impact that they will have on Earth.” commented Professor Mihalis Mathioudakis, one of the experts to attend the gatherings.
The scientists who will be charged with its use will be able to identify distant structures as little as 1.1 inches. In other words, it could easily spot a U.S. quarter at over 60 miles away. The EST is to be stationed in the Canary Islands, in Spain. The first observations are currently scheduled to begin sometime during 2027. A total of 17 European countries are involved so far, including Queen’s University Belfast, a leading organization in the exciting European space project.
During the series of above-mentioned meetings which took place at Queen’s University Belfast, over two dozen researchers discussed final touches for the design of the telescope as well as the overall details of its construction.
“At Queen’s University Belfast our world-class researchers have exceptional expertise in the area of solar physics. We are one of the lead organizations in the EST project for the UK and have been working closely with our international partners to agree on the final design and construction of the telescope. It is fantastic to have leading scientists from across Europe here in Belfast for these meetings and to share knowledge on this world leading project.” added Mathioudakis.
These are some of the very reasons that Queen’s University Belfast was chosen as a leading organization for the project. All in all, the EST couple very well be the source to procuring the answers to our many questions about the inner workings of the Sun and other stars like it. The EST will be the biggest and most impressive European telescope ever to be dedicated to such an in-depth study of the Sun. It will go a long way in helping space experts to get a better grasp on the magnetic coupling of the solar atmosphere.