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: China to launch solar telescope

Related Stories

China to launch solar telescope

July 14, 2005

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

Unique telescope looks at the universe

December 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.

UA to shape solar telescope mirror

June 23, 2011

( -- 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 Technology Solar ...

GREGOR telescope: Zooming in on the sun

May 10, 2012

( -- 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 to study not only ...

Recommended for you

Getting into the flow on the International Space Station

December 1, 2015

Think about underground water and gas as they filter through porous materials like soil and rock beds. On Earth, gravity forces water and gas to separate as they flow through the ground, cleaning the water and storing it ...

Exiled exoplanet likely kicked out of star's neighborhood

December 1, 2015

A planet discovered last year sitting at an unusually large distance from its star - 16 times farther than Pluto is from the sun - may have been kicked out of its birthplace close to the star in a process similar to what ...

Cassini mission provides insight into Saturn

December 1, 2015

Scientists have found the first direct evidence for explosive releases of energy in Saturn's magnetic bubble using data from the Cassini spacecraft, a joint mission between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian ...

Timing a sextuple quasar

December 1, 2015

Quasars are galaxies with massive black holes at their cores around which vast amounts of energy are being radiated. Indeed, so much light is emitted that the nucleus of a quasar is much brighter than the rest of the entire ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.