A powerful solar telescope billed as the largest in Europe opened recently on Spain's Canary Islands. Scientists say it will allow them to study the sun in unprecedented detail. With a mirror diameter of 1.5 metres, the Gregor telescope will be able to show structures on the sun on scales as small as 70 kilometres. The telescope also features a retractable roof that prevents air turbulence in its optical path, which allows it to deliver “images of a sharpness that up until now no terrestrial solar telescope has ever obtained ,” according to an Astrophysical Institute of the Canary Islands statement.
“Gregor was built mainly to study physical processes on the surface of the sun,” said Oskar von der Luhe, the director of the Kiepenheuer Institute. “In these layers we see how energy from its interior emerges and is launched into space, and sometimes, reaches the Earth,” he added.