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Ladakh to get world’s largest Solar Telescope

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  • The Solar Telescope project set-up cost is Rs. 300-crore.
  • Chief investigator of the project is S. Siraj Hasan, the former Director of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore.
  • The solar telescope could come up either at Hanle or Merak village near Pangong Lake in Ladakh.

Features of the telescope

  • The solar telescope’s aperture will be two metres.
  • It will have the capability for both day and night astronomy.
  • It will have a very high spatial resolution.

Functions of the telescope

  • The solar telescope would help in understanding the process of creation and decay of sunspots.
sun-sunspots
Sunspots
  • The solar telescope would fill the longitude gap between Japan and Europe.
  • It would provide crucial information on the nature of magnetic fields.

Significance of the New Solar Telescope

  • With enhanced understanding of the formation and decay of sunspots facilitated by the solar telescope is of great importance as they pose a threat to the communication system on earth as well as space satellites.
  • Satellites in low earth orbit face greater risk as during periods of heightened solar activity, the earth’s upper atmosphere swells up slightly in response to the extra heating, which in turn increases the rate of decay of these satellites. So, an understanding of sun’s activity is of crucial importance to the future of communication networks.
solar flames
Solar Flares

PS: Increased sunspot activity frequently accompanies an increase in the outflow of matter from the Sun in the form of solar wind. These solar charged particles in the wind can interfere with the operation of satellites by introducing what is called background static and also interact with atoms in the upper part of earth’s atmosphere, wreaking havoc with the communication systems on ground.

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