Magnetic Solar | by Brian Koberlein



2 September 2020

A sunspot observed in high resolution by the GREGOR telescope.
Leibniz Institute for Photo voltaic Physics (KIS)
A sunspot noticed in excessive decision by the GREGOR telescope.

The Solar is such an everyday a part of our lives that it looks as if an unchanging fixed. As sure positive as its rising and setting. However the Solar can be crammed with ever-changing phenomena, from sunspot cycles to photo voltaic storms. The Solar’s intense magnetic area drives a lot of this exercise.

But it surely isn’t straightforward to review the magnetic properties of the Solar. Magnetic fields aren’t seen on their very own, and so have to be studied by its interplay materials. For instance, robust magnetic fields may cause the spectral strains of a fabric to shift, which is likely one of the methods we all know that robust magnetic fields trigger sunspots. Missions akin to NASA’s Photo voltaic Dynamics Observatory have watched arcs of plasma from photo voltaic flares comply with the Solar’s magnetic area strains. However there are nonetheless many unanswered questions concerning the Solar’s magnetic area, so there’s a want for even sharper pictures of the Solar’s floor.

Granules and magnetic activity on the Sun.
Leibniz Institute for Photo voltaic Physics (KIS)
Granules and magnetic exercise on the Solar.

It is a want the GREGOR Photo voltaic Telescope hopes to fill. Positioned within the Canary Islands, it has been observing the Solar since 2009. But it surely has undergone a major redesign over the previous two years and is now delivering a number of the sharpest pictures of the Solar we’ve ever gathered. The redesign required subtle engineering, from laptop simulations of optical paths to make sure correct focus, to sprucing mirrors to inside an accuracy of 6nm. The result’s a telescope that may resolve particulars on the Solar as small as 50 kilometers throughout.

Photo voltaic exercise cannot solely have an effect on Earth’s climate, however it may well additionally threaten satellites and crewed house missions. The GREGOR group hopes that by studying extra concerning the Solar’s magnetic exercise, they may give us the instruments we have to assist defend our know-how and our planet.

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