World's Largest Solar Telescope soon in Ladakh

Remotely-controlled world’s largest terrestrial solar telescope will be commissioned in India five years from now and would be located in Ladakh, according to director, Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) S S Hasan. “The two-metre class (diameter) solar telescope, which will be the largest in the world, will be set up in Ladakh and the exact location is being decided,” Hasan said while delivering a lecture ‘Excitement of Modern Solar Astronomy’ at the Nehru centre here yesterday.

solar telescope

The McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope located on Kitt Peak, Arizona

“The project is over Rs 100 crore and will be operational by 2012 and will be made available to all researchers from the world,” he said adding it could be remotely operated from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics in Bangalore. Although it is an Indian initiative, large number of solar astronomers are in the advisory board in addition to scientists from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Physical Research Laboratory, Inter-university centre for astronomy and astrophysics and others, Hasan said.

The two other solar telescopes slightly smaller than the IIA proposed solar telescopes will be ready in Germany (2008) and in Los Angeles, US (2009) and are one and half metre class telescopes. Although US is planning the largest (four metre) solar telescope, presently it is on hold, he said. Even if it comes up, it will be after 2016, he added.

Although it is a terrestrial telescope, it is expected to give a much better resolution of solar surfaces for further research, Hasan said. “The imaging process is with very high resolution and the scientists have overcome the blurring effect of atmosphere. In fact, the terrestrial telescopes are going to be much better in high resolution than the space observatories like SOHO.

“There seems to be a renaissance even in terrestrial solar telescopes all over the world,” he said. The detailed concept and feasibility reports of the upcoming telescope are being prepared and the telescope will be imported. One of the expensive equipment of the telescope is the so called back end instrument — spectrographs along with polarimeter for giving resolutions thousands of times.

This will also be imported, he said. About the exact location of the telescope, Hasan said they are working on two sites and one will be selected soon. Hasan said his institute is also looking for qualified scientists for the new telescopes.

News courtesy: Business Standard

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