Exploring the solar surface...
Sunspots
...from leader observatories...
Observatorio del Teide
...with premium quality skies
Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos
Applying tomorrow technologies...
High technology
...to build the best tool...
EST design
...to understand our Star.
The Sun

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 participates in the ESFRI Workshop on the future of research infrastructures

Published: Monday, 11 November 2019

Representatives of European science and research infrastructures attended the ESFRI Workshop on the Future of Research Infrastructures in the European Research Area. As one of the infrastructures included on the ESFRI Roadmap 2016, the European Solar Telescope was also there.


Rafael Rebolo, IAC director (first from the left), emphasized the need for the EST to become a reality. / Credits: Iván Jiménez (IAC)

From 6 to 8 November, La Palma (Spain) hosted a wokshop on the Future of Research Infrastructures in the European Research Area. Organised by ESFRI, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures, the meeting gathered more than 100 representatives of European science and major infrastructures, including the European Solar Telescope - which was included on the ESFRI Roadmap in 2016.

Intended as a comprehensive reflection process on the future role and current challenges of existing and future European research infrastructures, the meeting was co-organised by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias,  the EST consortium coordinator. During his welcome speech, Rafael Rebolo, IAC Director, emphasized the need for the European Solar Telescope to become a reality and to function as a global infrastructure, open not only to European researchers but also to Asian scientists. Extending cooperation outside European borders was also emphasized by Adam Tyson, Head of the Unit for Research and Industrial Infrastructures of the European Commission. Tyson added that research infrastructures "need a strategic vision that goes beyond the area in which they work, generating connections and providing services that help researchers face today's major problems such as climate change or digital transition".

Topics covered during the workshop included the integration of infrastructures in the European Open Science Cloud, financing models, good practices, synergies with other national programmes and infrastructures, and the role of European research infrastructures in enhancing the innovation and competitiveness of the European Research Area.  The discussions and reflections will be used to write a prospective white paper on the future of research infrastructures in Europe.

ESFRI, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures, is a strategic instrument to develop European scientific integration and to strengthen its international outreach. Its mission is to support a coherent and strategy-led approach to policy-making on research infrastructures in Europe, and to facilitate multilateral initiatives leading to their better use and development, at EU and international level. It was established in 2002 with a mandate from the EU Council.

 

Recordings of the whole workshop can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGyM5vVpaq9G8DPvPLa4Cvw 

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