COVID-19 Emergency. CALL FOR TENDER for the Preliminary design of the European Solar Telescope three main systems SUSPENDED until the emergency status in Spain is revoked.
Alerta por COVID-19. La licitación de Diseño preliminar de tres de los sistemas principales del Telescopio Solar Europeo está SUSPENDIDA hasta que es el estado de alarma en España sea revocado.

European Solar Telescope

The European Solar Telescope (EST) is a next generation large-aperture solar telescope. This 4-metre telescope will be optimised for studies of the magnetic coupling between the deep photosphere and upper chromosphere. This will require diagnostics of the thermal, dynamic and magnetic properties of the plasma over many scale heights, by using multiple wavelength imaging, spectroscopy and spectropolarimetry. To achieve these goals, the EST will specialize in high spatial and temporal resolution using various instruments simultaneously that can efficiently produce 2D spectral information. EST will be located in Canary Islands, one of the first-class locations for astronomical observations.


Why does this matter?

A consensus exists among solar astronomers worldwide that a significant increase in observing capability is needed to understand the fundamental processes that control plasma physics in the Sun's outer atmosphere, approaching the following key questions as a priority goal:

1. What can the Sun teach us about fundamental astrophysical processes? Observations of the Sun reveal intricate patterns of magnetic fields and the complex dynamics of a stellar atmosphere at the physically relevant spatial scales. 

2. What drives solar variability on all scales? The Sun varies on a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, displaying important energetic phenomena over the whole range. We do not fully understand and cannot accurately predict basic aspects of solar variability.

3. What is the impact of solar activity on life on Earth? Solar magnetic activity variations induce terrestrial changes, which can affect millions of humans on short and long time scales. We need to predict disturbances of the space environment, which are induced by the Sun and to understand the links between the solar output and the Earth’s climate.


What is the European added value?

European solar physicists unanimously share the view that a large aperture new generation solar telescope is needed to further understanding of the fundamental processes of plasma physics in the Sun’s upper layers. The construction of a ground-based large aperture solar telescope equipped, with adaptive optics and integral field spectropolarimeters for observing astrophysical processes at their intrinsic scale, would allow interaction between magnetic fields and plasma in the solar atmosphere to be observed.

Building EST will guarantee European Solar Physics access to an essential tool for ground-based solar research that will bring in scientific benefits not only in quantity but also of the highest quality. EST covers the gap as such large-scale telescopes for solar physics do not exist in Europe. It is not only a key reinforcement in the strategy of developing the European research area in this field but also in the development and internationalisation for the Canary Islands' Astrophysics Observatories. Moreover EST will give European industry, which is very well equipped for this type of project, a unique opportunity to make returns on its expertise in the field. 



The European Solar Telescope at the European Researchers' Night 2019

On Friday and Saturday 27-28 September 2019, the European Researchers' Night was celebrated across the continent. All over Europe, scientists and engineers took the streets and opened their laboratories to the European citizens .

The European Solar Telescope joined the effort as well, and events were organised in ten European cities: Athens (Greece), Budapest (Hungary), Catania and Rome (Italy), Dublin (Ireland), Granada and La Laguna (Spain), Ondřejov (Czech Republic). Poprad (Slovakia), and Stockholm (Sweden). Children and adults alike participated in solar observations, attended conferences and workhops and had the opportunity to meet EST scientists and engineers, learn about solar physics research, and discover the opportunities the EST will open.



This is a summary of the activities organised (a detailed description can be found here):

  • Czech Republic: The Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences prepared a guided visit to their observatory, including a exhibition of the historical instruments for Sun research that have been used at the facility at different points in time.

  • Greece: The National Observatory of Athens - EST Greek partner- had their own both at Athen's main event for the European Researchers' Night, where among other things, attendants could learn about solar storms forecasting or satellite monitoring for natural disasters.

  • Hungary: The Department of Astronomy at Eötvos Lorànd University organised observations of the Sun with optical and H-alpha telescopes. Dr. Bernadett Belucz gave an educational talk covering stellar constellations and their history, the Sun and planets, star formation, Hungarian research in astronomy, and the European Solar Telescope.

  • Ireland: PROBE at Trinity College Dublin offered workshops and talks about rockets, comets, and gravitational waves, and a guided tour of the Monck Observatory on the roof of the Fitzgerald Building. Scientists of the Solar and Space Weather Research Group and the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies - EST partners in Ireland- took part in the event.

  • Italy: Two cities (Catania and Rome) and three institutions organised EST related activities in Italy. In Catania, several institutions devoted to physics, astrophysics, nanotechnology, and material sciences joined forces in a pop up science show with exhibitions, conferences, and workshops covering all kind of topics from exoplanets to Moon exploration to the Sun and the European Solar Telescope. In Rome, researchers of the INAF Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma -one of the EST partners in Italy- offered seminars and guided tours to the historical instruments, including a conference focused on the Sun and Sun-Earth relations, addressing also the role of the European Solar Telescope in solar physics research. Also in Rome, the event "Tor Vergata: Space University", had a very special guest: cosmonaut Lt. Col. Walter Villadei. 

  • Slovakia: In the city of Poprad, the city mall hosted no less than 14 workshops and conferences on the event of the European Resercahers' Night. One of those conferences was delivered by Dr. Peter Gömöry, director of the Astronomical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Science who -in an educational fashion- addressed the traits of our star, the impact they have on Earth, and how scientists use their knowledge of the Sun to better understand other stars in the Universe.

  • Spain: In Granada, the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía had its own stand at the official, outdoor venue for the European Researchers' Night, where the EST model was showcased. There was also a conference by Dr. Luis Bellot, astrophysicist and Communications Coordinator for the PRE-EST project,  about the most unknown aspects of the Sun, together with the techniques used to study them and the improvements and new developments the European Solar Telescope will bring along. In the Canary Islands, the Instituto de Atrofísica de Canarias also had their own stand in La Laguna and organised live YouTube broadcasts from a number of telescopes at the Teide and Roque de los Muchachos Observatories.

  • Sweden: The European Researchers’ Night and the Day and Night of Astronomy were organized together in the country. Thus, the Department of Astronomy at Stockholm University organized a full programme of activities including solar observations, and workshops on planetary models, robotics for astronomy purposes, and light pollution measurement. There was also an educational conference about the European Solar Telescope by Dr. Dan Kiselman.




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