NJIT physicists expect new super lens to reveal first light by early 2006

Dec 04, 2004

"This is an exciting time in all fields of astronomy because advances in technology enable us to build instruments that would have been only dreams a few years ago," said lead researcher Philip Goode, PhD, distinguished professor of physics at NJIT and director of Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO), California, where the telescope will be installed. NJIT has operated the facility since 1997.
Led by Goode, a team of solar physicists from the University of Hawaii and Korea are collaborating with NJIT on the project.

The NJIT team is replacing BBSO's existing 65-cm vacuum aperture telescope with a modern off-axis, open air, 1.6 meter clear aperture instrument. The new telescope uses visible and infrared light rays to measure simultaneously the Sun's magnetic field at different altitudes in the solar atmosphere to study the field's evolution.

What will be most unusual about the new telescope will be its ability to reconstruct and sharpen in real time the blurry images of the sun that telescopes now provide. "Sharpening these images will be a remarkable achievement because now no observatory does this and people need this information," said Goode. "After all, if you want to forecast space weather, you have to have sharp images now. It does no one any good to have sharp images two days after the solar event occurred." People working with satellites and power utilities, in telecommunications and for the military need this information."

This solar telescope is the centerpiece of the nation's multi-agency space weather program, to better understand the interaction between magnetic fields and the flows of materials on the sun's surface. The new telescope will also allow researchers to study the dynamics of the sun's chromosphere. The chromosphere is the first layer of atmosphere above the sun's surface layer.

The new telescope will also allow Goode and his staff to continue their ground-breaking research about earthshine, the faint illumination of the dark part of the moon by sunlight reflected from the earth. In the May 28, 2004 issue of Science, Goode and his team argued that by observing earthshine for eight years, they had witnessed first a gradual decline in the earth's reflectance, which although it grew sharper in the late 1990s, reversed itself in the past three years. There seemed to be a decadal natural variability of the climate system, specifically clouds. The decreases in the planet's reflection of sunlight through the end of the last century may well be associated with the accelerated global warming in recent years, the researchers noted.

Other NJIT projects related to the space weather program include the work of NJIT Physics Professor Dale Gary, PhD, who is developing a global network of 100 radio telescopes. The telescopes will provide information about the sun's magnetic fields through radio waves.

Source: New Jersey Institute of Technology

Explore further: Prophet's ancient seal provides insights from antiquity

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Discovering a hidden source of solar surges

Jun 03, 2014

Cutting-edge observations with the 1.6-meter telescope at Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) in California have taken research into the structure and activity of the Sun to new levels of understanding. Operated ...

Solving sunspot mysteries

Jun 03, 2014

Multi-wavelength observations of sunspots with the 1.6-meter New Solar Telescope at Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) in California and aboard NASA's IRIS spacecraft have produced new and intriguing images ...

Recommended for you

Prophet's ancient seal provides insights from antiquity

23 minutes ago

When a personal artifact of a religious leader is discovered nearly 1,700 years after its use, the object provides invaluable historical insights. Zsuzsanna Gulacsi, professor of Comparative Cultural Studies, ...

Seeing dinosaur feathers in a new light

31 minutes ago

Why were dinosaurs covered in a cloak of feathers long before the early bird species Archaeopteryx first attempted flight? Researchers from the University of Bonn and the University of Göttingen attempt ...

Billionaires' $10m gift to Yale stirs debate in China

4 hours ago

A Chinese billionaire couple's $10 million gift to Yale University sparked controversy among the country's Internet users Thursday, with some arguing that the money would be better spent on schools in China.

Mexico archaeologists explore Teotihuacan tunnel (Update)

15 hours ago

A yearslong exploration of a tunnel sealed almost 2,000 years ago at the ancient city of Teotihuacan yielded thousands of relics and the discovery of three chambers that could hold more important finds, Mexican ...

User comments : 0

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.