Largest solar telescope soon in Ladakh

Remotely controlled world's largest terrestrial solar telescope will be commissioned in India five years from now and would be located in Ladakh, according to director, Indian Institute of Astrophysics Prof. S.S. Hasan.

"The two-meter class (diameter) Solar telescope, which will be the largest in the world, will be set up in Ladakh and the exact location is being decided," "Excitement of modern solar Astronomy".

"The project is over Rs 100 crores and will be operational by 2012 and will be made available to all researchers from the world," he said adding it could be remotely operated from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics in Bangalore.

Although it is an Indian initiative, large number of solar astronomers are in the advisory board in addition to scientists from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Physical Research Laboratory, Interuniversity centre for astronomy and astrophysics and others, Hasan said.

The two other solar telescope slightly smaller than the IIA proposed solar telescopes will be ready in Germany (2008) and in Los Angeles, US (2009) and are one and half meter class telescopes.

Although US is planning for the largest (four meter) Solar Telescope, currently it is on hold, he said. Even if it comes up, it will be after 2016, he added.

Although it is a terrestrial telescope, it is expected to give much better resolution of solar surfaces for further research, Hasan said. "The imaging process is with very high resolution and the scientists have overcome the blurring effect of atmosphere. In fact, the terrestrial telescopes are going to be much better in high resolution than the space observatories like SOHO. "There seems to be a renaissance even in terrestrial solar telescopes all over the world," he said. The detailed concept and feasibility reports of the upcoming telescope are being prepared and the telescope will be imported.

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