IRSOL, where Ticino and solar physics come together

Image showing a pattern of turbulent, “boiling” gas that covers the entire sun (Credit: NSO/NSF/AURA)
Image showing a pattern of turbulent, “boiling” gas that covers the entire sun (Credit: NSO/NSF/AURA)
NSF’s Inouye Solar Telescope in Maui, Hawaii. (Credit: NSO/NSF/AURA)
NSF’s Inouye Solar Telescope in Maui, Hawaii. (Credit: NSO/NSF/AURA)

Institutional Communication Service

13 February 2020

There is also a bit of Ticino in the recent technological developments that have occurred in the field of solar physics. The DKIST solar telescope installed in Hawaii has, in fact, a special filter developed in collaboration with IRSOL, associated with USI.

The National Science Foundation’s Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) has images of the Sun showing the granular structures with great detail unprecedented resolution. DKIST observations are expected to provide a large amount of new interesting information about solar phenomena, and its observations will provide an important opportunity to test the numerical and the theoretical models developed by IRSOL researchers in collaboration with the Institute of Computational Science (ICS, Faculty of Informatics) at USI and the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS).

The observations of solar activity provide precious information on the strength and orientation of the magnetic fields, which is crucial for understanding, for instance, the physical mechanisms that trigger high-energy solar phenomena, like flares or coronal mass ejections. If directed towards the Earth, these explosive events may be dangerous for astronauts or may damage the electronic devices aboard satellites, on which our technology-dependent society strongly relies. 

IRSOL collaborates with the Leibniz-Institut for Solar Physics (KIS) in Freiburg, Germany, on the construction of the Visible Tunable Filter (VTF) to be installed at DKIST. This will allow to obtain an unprecedented spectro-polarimetric resolution, allowing scientists to study in detail the solar magnetic field, responsible for solar activity and transient solar events.

Further reading at www.nso.edu/inouye-solar-telescope-first-light

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