GREGOR, the largest solar telescope operating out of the German consortium in Europe and situated in the Teide Observatory in Spain has obtained unprecedented images of the Sun. These high-resolution images reveal the intricate structuring of the solar magnetic fields on the surface of the Sun. The telescope has been observing the Sun since 2009. The team behind GREGOR hopes that these details regarding the star’s magnetic activity could promote and equip scientists and engineers with the tools required to help protect our planet’s technological advancements in the future.
These images come after a major redesign of the GREGOR telescope’s optics which was carried out by a team of scientists and engineers from the Leibniz Institute of Solar Physics (KIS) which enables them to observe the Sun at a comparatively higher resolution than before from Europe. It allows scientists to view details as small as 50 km on the surface of the Sun as well as study convection, turbulence, solar eruptions, and sunspots in detail. Dr. Lucia Kent, who led the project stated, “This was a very exciting, but also an extremely challenging project. In only one year we completely redesigned the optics, mechanics, and electronics to achieve the best possible image quality.” Prof. Dr. Svetlana Berdyugina of the Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg and the Director of KIS stated that despite the project being rather risky, the team got through it meticulous planning and observed great success following the same. The first few images released as a part of this project dates back to July of this year where it detailed the evolution and intricate structuring of the solar plasma.
Currently, European researches have access to the observations concerning the GREGOR telescope through various national programmes and funding initiatives by the European Commission. They are currently pushing through newer observational programmes starting September 2020.