Under permanent observation

24 hours a day, seven days a week, solar researchers dissect our mother sun

Since the middle of the last century, the sun is in a phase of a high activity in a phase, which in a frequent occurrence of sunspots, gas outbreaks and radiation stems aubert. ERGO watch specialists our mother sunday with astronomical argus eyes. That the earthly hometer is the most intense observed object in the sky, does not come from about about. Finally, our well-being depends on the further fate and the whims of the sun. No wonder so that solar researchers have to cooperate worldwide and the earth’s ocean – do not let her eyes.

Every eleven years, our home forests on the ownership, but nevertheless, is attracting attention: then especially many of the so-called sunspots, caused by strong magnetic fields, produced a stream of ionizing particles. If such a magnetic storm is on our planet, he develops unimagined power with sustainable effect.

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The solar wind is a continuous but very variable stream of particles that escape from the sun’s atmosphere, radial to outdoor currents and all the interplanetary space. He consists mainly of charged particles, D.H. Ion, alpha particles and electrons.

In the middle Marz in 1989, when a sun tower within 90 seconds turned off the power grid of the entire Canadian Quebec province for nine hours and caused a damage of more than a billion dollars. Many people frozen at minus 15 degrees Celsius, as electric furnaces failed. Traffic lights did not work, cars were stopped because electric powered pumps on the petrol stations no more gasoline delivered. Therefore, it is only too logical that a regular, scientifically sound view of our hometimes makes sense. Finally, the fate of the earth and its residents depend very strongly from the stellar supervises of the sun.

Incredible photon flood

Since the invention of the telescope in the early 17. Century observe astronomers regularly the sunspots. These are regions on the surface of the sun, in which the energy supply is hindered from the inside due to the strong magnetic fields acting in them. As a result, these areas cow around about 1500 K to around 4300 ° C and appear dark in contrast to their approximately 5800 ° C overcoming environment. The number of sunspots varies in an approximately elevent-year activity cycle that is superimposed by long-term fluctuations. For example, there were in the second half of the 17. Century almost no sunspots.

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Stern or star or. Sunspots are dark structures on the surface of a star. There are evidence that on some stars the stains up to 50 percent of the star surface cover, opposite one percent in the sun. The number of sunspots fluctuates with the 11-year activity cycle of the sun.

However, in addition to sunspots, that the sun offer much more to tell, much more interesting to tell, much more information has to deal with the incredible photon flood that emits it. "In contrast to nightstronomers, which are grateful for virtually every captured light particles, we have to surplate the umbrella of light and warm bandy, which meets our telescopes", The American Solarastronom complains John Varsik. Unlike the star friends of the night, the sunscreens are indeed a surplus of light and warm against. Finally, you use the entire solar spectrum of the visible light from the incoming light ray flood ("white light") From red to violet. Specially developed spectral apparatus analyze the FULLE of the information containing in the sunlight to save them on magnetic disks. On PC screens, the sun awakes to live again – especially on the Internet, where numerous solar images are stored.

Search for the ideal location

Since sun researchers are dependent on the weather and the interplay of day and night as their colleagues from night actronomy and because they are almost a life just a star "dissect", If you have to cooperate, you want to take a luckless observation of the sun. It is therefore only consistent that they have been organized in multinational workgroups. This differentiated and tight network, which has developed here, also belong "European Solar Magnetometry Network" (ESMN, an association consisting of eight coarse observatories. One of them is the innovative Dutch Open Telescope (Dot on La Palma / Canary Islands, which operates the University Utrecht University University University.

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Dutch Open Telescope: Maybe perhaps something inconspicuous, but very powerful

This telescope goes – like the other Sun Telescopes – the Secret of Solar Magnetic Fields: With the help of Euros, which provided the European Union. By contrast with American funds, the "Global Oscillation Network Group" (Gong) financed, a working group that has joined six rough solar tribes whose strategically valuable situation allows a full-year sun observation. They form a global network that extends from the Mauna-Loa Station (Hawaii), which is located in the Australian Waste, which is the Learmonth telescope in the Australian Observatory in Udaipur throughout the Pacific. To be grounds, the previously unknown causes for sunbaces, which are almost always betrayed by measurable sun oscillations.

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Image of sun surface in 3-D. Recorded with the Swedish 1-M Solar Telescope et al., Lockheed-Martin Solar Astrophysics Lab)

MOGEN The real estate observation stations are often thousands of kilometers away from each other – in terms of data transfer they are highly high thanks to the World Wide Web. Apart from the possibility to exchange information directly via the Internet or intranet, the researchers can also access special database, which specifically detect and archive project-related data. At any time are available in the SIDC data center in Brussel, for example, the sunspots relative numbers, which are exceeded monthly by the specialized observatories.

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Shot of the sun with the Big Bear Solar Observatory in the light of hydrogen line H-alpha

For the collection of the results of the current observations in the light of the red hydrogen line H-Alpha for flare monitoring, the world data centers in Boulder, Paris and Moscow are state. You true that no bit of the globally won "solar" Information is lost. The fact that the team spirit of the solar researcher does not address the earth-bound observation alone, the solar specialist prof. Christoph Keller von der Universitat Utrecht, who fully recognizes the success of the costly satellite missions Soho or Ulysses:

Nowadays you can not stay between "traditional" Sun researchers and scientists who analyze the sun with satellites, distinguish. Almost every one of us is involved in the ground and space observation. Satellites are expensive, but they show us the sun in a way we can not see them from the ground from the ground.

The fight against air turbulence

John Varsik’s workger, on the other hand, is the earthly Big-Bear telescope in the California San Bernardino Mountains. Here, on a high of 2000 meters, the sky is usually cloud-free, the air still clean and the sun even up to ten hours a day "active". Here, in the midst of the lake of the same name, the telescopic drill is located from a 66-centimeter reflector and a 25 centimeter resp. 15-centimeter refractor. Only a narrow dam connects the dome with the shore, otherwise the Pittoreske See otherwise.

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Soho admission of a protuberance from the year 2002

From the cold waters, the researchers hope for three effects. On the one hand, it should absorb the incoming sunlight and so unnecessary light reflections. On the other hand, the chilling wet should protect the auxiliary mirror of the 66-centimeter vacuum telescope before overheating. Third, the water should keep the ground-level air turquoises on a possible level of low levels.

Every hobby astronomy knows the storing effect of air turbulence. This unpredictable movements of the air arise through stable, local riots in the Earth’s atmosphere. This increases air bale up and down. Their different density and temperature causes a lens-like effect, which although the sunlight differs slightly, but still strong enough distorted to overlay each picture with a storing flicker. Not without reason are solar physicists with this "Mortal enemy", As Rudolf Kippenhahn once formulated martial, "in the standard war".

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Soho picture

If so, then some successful battles have been beaten especially in the Pacific. For example, in the Canary Islands, where a small armada of sonnetelescopes has been fighting for years against air turbulence. One of her students is the Swedish Solar Telescope on La Palma, a vacuum telescope that makes his name all honor.

Clou of vacuum telescopes

Unquestionably pay vacuum telescopes to the strongest "Earth weapons", the astronomers have been mobilized against air turbulence so far. This also proves the German vacuum tower telescope (VTT with its 70-centimeter opening and its 46 meter focal length. It is seconded by the vacuum Newton telescope built for testing, a mirror telescope with a 40-centimeter opening and a focal length of 35 meters. And flanked is the VTT by the Gregory-Coud’e telescope (GCT), which had to talk to Tenerife after a greater superhaul of Locarno to Tenerife.

All three buildings and gates that the Freiburg Kiepenheuer Institute (KIS looks after are equipped with a dazzling soft color. This is intended to reflect the incident solar heat radiation and thus prevent the plant overheating. The high the tower is, the better. Because only in this way is the soil-embraced soil, which can arise from the turbulent air layers, hold at a distance. But the actual trick in vacuum telescopes is that in its interior the air was targeted, so that the focus is in vacuo. Thus, additional image racks can be avoided by heating; Increasing hot radiation can not produce air turquoises in telescopic interior.

Under permanent observation

No sunspot, but the planet Mercury in the Transit of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Mats Lofdahl and Peter Dettori)

The effectiveness of a stationary sun telescope thus depends on the interaction of many factors, which are optimally coordinated. Everything stands and falls with the right geographical location, the appropriate exercise and inner architecture and an efficient communication network – and last but not least the quality of the telescopic with the filter used, including the image information system. It is lively in the nature of progress that the new generation of the infrared and CCD semiconductor cameras had to initiate the end of classic astro photography that Armand H’s French Physicians.L. Fizeau (1819-1896) and Leon Foucault (1819-1868) on 2. April 1845 was founded. Foucault promges the sun to photographic paper for the first time in the human history for the first time in the human history. Without the light of the sun ware of Foucault have not been able to do so – both ontologically and film technology.

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