Europe's largest solar telescope opens in Canary Islands

May 21, 2012
A man stands atop the German Solar Telescope GREGOR on the Spanish Canary island of Tenerife. A powerful solar telescope billed as the largest in Europe opened Monday on Spain's Canary Islands which scientists say will allow them to study the sun in unprecedented detail.

A powerful solar telescope billed as the largest in Europe opened Monday on Spain's Canary Islands which scientists say will allow them to study the sun in unprecedented detail.

With a mirror diametre of 1.5 metres (4.9 feet), the Gregor telescope will be able to show structures on the sun on scales as small as 70 kilometres (43.5 miles), the Astrophysical Institute of the Canary Islands said in a statement.

The telescope was built on the island of Tenerife at a cost of 12.85 million euros ($16.4 million) by a German consortium led by the Kiepenheuer Institute for in Freiburg which covered the majority of the expense.

"Its advanced technology will allow the scientific community -- Spanish, German and international -- to study the sun in an unprecedented level of detail," the statement said.

In addition to the large diametre of its mirror, the telescope features a retractable roof that prevents in its which allows it to deliver "images of a sharpness that up until now no terrestrial solar telescope has ever obtained."

The is the largest in Europe and the third largest in the world, the institute said.

"Gregor was built mainly to study on the surface of the sun," said Oskar von der Luhe, the director of the Kiepenheuer Institute.

"In these layers we see how energy from its interior emerges and then is launched into space, and on some occasions, reaches the Earth," he added.

Named after 17th century Scottish mathematician and astronomer James Gregory, the telescope will be used at night to observe stars.

Explore further: The difference between CMEs and solar flares

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

GREGOR telescope: Zooming in on the sun

May 10, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Nighttime is the astronomer’s day. After all, anyone wishing to see the stars must wait until it is dark. There is one exception to this rule, however: the sun. Close up, it can be used ...

China to launch solar telescope

Jul 14, 2005

China has announced completion of its first two space telescopes: a space solar telescope and a hard X-ray modulation telescope.

UA to shape solar telescope mirror

Jun 23, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- When finished, the 4.2-meter mirror will be the largest telescope mirror ever pointed at the sun. Polished into a highly complex, asymmetric shape, it will be the centerpiece of the Advanced ...

Unique telescope looks at the universe

Dec 22, 2005

CONDOR, a deuterium observation telescope receiver, opened its eye to the universe for the first time last month and opened a new chapter in astronomy.

Recommended for you

Getting to the root of the problem in space

8 hours ago

When we go to Mars, will astronauts be able to grow enough food there to maintain a healthy diet? Will they be able to produce food in NASA's Orion spacecraft on the year-long trip to Mars? How about growing ...

The difference between CMEs and solar flares

10 hours ago

This is a question we are often asked: what is the difference between a coronal mass ejection (CME) and a solar flare? We discussed it in a recent astrophoto post, but today NASA put out a video with amazing graphics that explain ...

Scientific instruments of Rosetta's Philae lander

11 hours ago

When traveling to far off lands, one packs carefully. What you carry must be comprehensive but not so much that it is a burden. And once you arrive, you must be prepared to do something extraordinary to make ...

User comments : 0