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. 



PRE-EST and SOLARNET annual meetings held in Prague

Published: Tuesday, 28 January 2020

The events brought together a significant representation of the European Solar Physic community. The EAST General Assembly also took place in the city.

PRE-EST Board meeting group picture (more pictures of the meetings at the bottom of the page).

The consortium of the European Solar Telescope (EST) met last week in Prague to discuss the roadmap towards the future implementation of EST and assess the progress of the EST-related projects. The meetings, held over three days at the Czech Academy of Sciences, brought together a significant representation of the European Solar Physics community in the field of high spatial resolution.

Members of the PRE-EST project shared the latest strategic and technical developments related to EST. This project, funded by the EU H2020 programme to develop a detailed plan for the implementation of EST, has worked intensively during the last year to consolidate the EST design, including the adoption of an 800-mm adaptive secondary mirror to ensure that EST is equipped with the most advanced technology. All works have a clear aim in sight: having a detailed Construction Plan by 2022.

SOLARNET H2020 also held its first annual meeting in Prague. The EU-funded project, which continues the work started by its predecessor under the same name, aspires to integrate the major European infrastructures in the field of high-resolution solar physics. During this first meeting, a comprehensive review of the annual activities was made: networking activities and schools, mobility programmes to ensure access to research infrastructures, and joint research activities.

The meetings were supported by the Czech Republic Ministry of Youth, Education and Sport under the large research infrastructure project LM2018095. The commitment of the Czech Republic with EST was recently reaffirmed in the last update of the Czech National Infrastructure Roadmap, which prioritised and consolidated the Czech participation in the construction and operation of the European Solar Telescope.


EAST General Assembly

The European Association for Solar Telescopes also held its annual meeting. Among other aspects, Dr. Salvo Gugliemino (Università di Catania, Italy) was elected as the new EAST Executive Director (in substitution of Dr. Marco Stangalini).

Founded in 2006, the association is now formed by 26 institutions from 18 countries (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and UK). The goal of the association is to ensure access of European solar astronomers to world class ground-based high-resolution observing facilities.  EAST is also the promoter of the European Solar Telescope.




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