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The European Solar Telescope

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:30 am
by brian livesey
A new ground-based European telescope is planned that will examine the Sun in "unprecedented" detail. Based in the Canary Islands, the new instrument with a primary mirror of 407 CM diameter will see solar details equivalent to examining a pound coin from a distance of 100 kilometres. Construction will be in 2020-25.
Professor Mihalis Mathioudakis, of Queens University Belfast which is one of the main project bodies in the UK, said: Currently we know very little about the Sun. It gives us light and energy which are indispensable for life on Earth. It is a very dynamic and active system with changes that could potentially have drastic consequences for our civilisation.
"However, we don't know the processes that operate in the Sun's atmosphere. We are unable to predict them and therefore we are unable to forecast the impact that they will have on Earth." The Professor said that the European Solar Telescope ( EST ) could have the potential to resolve many mysteries about our star. "It will be the largest European telescope that will be able to study the Sun at unprecedented levels of detail," he added.
Seventeen European countries are involved in the project.

Re: The European Solar Telescope

Posted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:16 pm
by Cliff
Brian; I have somewhat mixed feelings about this. In some ways me being a fairly enthusiastic Sun watcher, I like to think the more we learn about the Sun the better. However, in other respects I think we already know enough about the Sun. Part of my fun observing the Sun is sort of searching the unknown. Irrespective of the limitations of my own skills & equipment I'm generally happy enough doing what I'm doing and even quite happy the Sun isn't on clear view very day. I suppose that's one advantage of being an "amateur". Actually I wouldn't really want better more sophisticated equipment even if I could afford it. Though if I was younger I might think differently (?).
However, there are other considerations.
(eg) from what I gather currently I gather professional weather forecasters can only reliably forecast the UK weather for a week ahead. Although the weekly forecasts I see only seem to be about FIVE days (?).
So if we can only achieve "week" long forecasts for the UK can scientists hope to achieve more accurate forecasts for the Sun - Although I think they do seem to say, the Sun will keep blazing away for several billion years ahead. (Is that about 4 or 5 billion - I forget (?)
Of course I suppose one argument for studying the Sun in greater detail is that it might help us improve UK weather forecasting.
Incidentally, I specifically refer to UK weather forecasting, wondering if weather forecasts in other parts of the world might be easier\better, whilst some other parts may be worse.
On a somewhat different track.
An old acquaintance had solar panels fitted on the roof of his house many years ago. He did it purely on environmental grounds. He told me that although he would save some money providing electricity for himself and selling excess to the national grid, at his increasing age he didn't expect to cover the cost of his solar panels.
I haven't spoken to him about the solar panels since. But recently I've been told that his roof is now leaking (& the solar panels seem to be the cause). I haven't confirmed that and would be reluctant to discuss the possible problem with him. However, there seems to be a 3 inch gap between the solar panels and roof. Even if the roof was perfectly reliable initially, over time strong winds might affect the solar panels (eg vibration) which could result in a leaking roof.
Best wishes from Cliff (PS - whatever. I wont be getting solar panels in a rush !)

Re: The European Solar Telescope

Posted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:41 pm
by brian livesey
What seems surprising Cliff is that, despite the Sun having been monitored by solar physicists for many years from the the ground and with solar space telescopes, there's still a great deal they don't know about our star.
Was it Eddington who said that "a star is a simple thing"? Well, it seems to be the case that ours isn't that simple!

Re: The European Solar Telescope

Posted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 6:12 pm
by Cliff
Brian
I can't believe it. I made two attempts earlier today (29th) to post another reply to your most comments. My first long winded attempt seemed to get "time outed". My second attempt seemed to get posted satisfactorily - Ha! Ha! but then apparently disappeared.
Perhaps it's an omen ?
Shut up Cliff

Re: The European Solar Telescope

Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:08 pm
by Brian
Cliff wrote:Brian
I can't believe it. I made two attempts earlier today (29th) to post another reply to your most comments. My first long winded attempt seemed to get "time outed". My second attempt seemed to get posted satisfactorily - Ha! Ha! but then apparently disappeared.
Perhaps it's an omen ?
Shut up Cliff
Dear Cliff,

probably because the SPA website was being moved to a new server this weekend. See Paul's notice posted in the Announcements at the top of the Index page,

regards,

Re: The European Solar Telescope

Posted: Tue May 01, 2018 5:33 pm
by Cliff
Dear Brian
Thanks for that information.
I could understand my first comedy, but the second one really did puzzle me.
from Cliff

Re: The European Solar Telescope

Posted: Sat May 12, 2018 6:06 am
by mike a feist
re solar-panels on roofs. We have noticed here that the gap under the panels attracts feral pigeons as it seems that they can shelter there. The rooftop opposite my house (sheltered flats which recently had panels fitted) now has a large resident flock of these birds.
re Cliff's " I wouldn't really want better more sophisticated equipment even if I could afford it."
I would agree with this. I have gradually even reduced the amount of astronomical "stuff" that I have to some Sky atlases and guides, an 8x42 monocular, a 12-36 x 50 spotting scope and a MAK70 scope + two tripods and a second-hand bridge camera. These also double as birdwatching tools. I am a bit of a minimalist + a bit of a Luddite too, I guess and just feel that "Less is More". But I would add "each to their own".
regards maf