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China proposes largest solar telescope
Chinese scientists say they are looking for a site to built the world’s largest solar telescope to gather data to help understand solar activities.
The proposed $90 million Chinese Giant Solar Telescope, “the next-generation [of] ground-based solar telescopes,” will lead the field of solar observation in 20 years, Deng Yuanyong, director of the Huairou Solar Observing Station of the National Astronomical Observatories said.
The proposal is for a very large infrared and optical solar telescope, with spatial resolution equivalent to a 26-foot-diameter telescope and light-gathering power equivalent to a 16-foot-diameter full aperture telescope, Deng told China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.
Currently the world’s largest ground-based solar telescope is the 3-foot solar telescope of Sweden, with 5-foot solar telescopes soon to be launched by Germany and the United States.
“Although solar physics has made big progress with ground-based and space-borne observations in the past decades, it seems that we do need more efforts,” Deng said.
The western part of the country, including Tibet Autonomous Region as well as Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, may provide candidates for the site of the proposed telescope with the right geological and weather conditions, scientists said.
“The site must stay far away from the hustle and bustle of cities, as well as modern industrialization,” Lin Jun, chief scientist of the Chinese Academy of Science’s Yunnan Observatory, said.
Copyright 2012 by United Press International