“The imaging produced by the Inouye Solar Telescope opens new horizons in solar physics. Its imaging capability allows us to study the physical processes at work in the Sun’s atmosphere at unprecedented levels of detail. We worked hard over the past few years with Belfast-based Andor Technology to develop the cameras that equip the Inouye Solar Telescope and it is highly rewarding to now see this fascinating imaging.”Professor Mihalis Mathioudakis from Queen’s University Belfast
What impact did it make?
THE NEXT GENERATION OF SOLAR TELESCOPES
The Sun is the most important astronomical object for humankind, with solar activity driving space weather and having profound effects on climate and communications.
As a result of their research pushing the boundaries of what was possible with existing instrumentation, Queen’s University researchers have played a central role in defining the science specifications for the next generation of solar telescopes, such as the US-led Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) and the European Solar Telescope (EST). These unique facilities are revolutionising studies in the field of astrophysics. Key advances offered by these instruments are ultra-high spatial (25km) and temporal (millisecond, ms) resolution, photospheric and chromospheric imaging spectroscopy, vector magnetometry, plus infrared coronal magnetometry.
In January 2020 the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope revealed unprecedented detail of the Sun’s surface, with experts saying it will enable a new era of solar science and a leap forward in understanding the Sun and its impacts on our planet. The images from NSF’s Inouye Solar Telescope 4-meter solar telescope, show a close-up view of the Sun’s surface including a pattern of turbulent “boiling” plasma that covers the entire Sun. The images also show cell-like structures - each about the size of Texas - which are the signature of violent motions that transport heat from inside the Sun to its surface.
The striking Balor-enabled solar images have generated significant interest among both the research community and the general public, engaging new audiences in Solar science.
- Balor is the largest-format, high-cadence scientific Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor camera commercially available.
- By partnering with Queen’s University for this project, Andor gained access to numerous research groups in the UK, allowing them to develop an enhanced understanding of the market-place.
Impact related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
Learn more about Queen’s University’s commitment to nurturing a culture of sustainability and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through research and education.
- SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Impacting in Countries/Regions
School/InstituteSchool of Mathematics and Physics
- Beyond Earth
- Intelligent manufacturing and service delivery
- Understanding the extremes - high-energy and ultra-fast processes