Spanish-made solar telescope world’s biggest

Astronomers in Hawaii will soon have the chance to view the clearest image of the sun yet, thanks to a huge €216 ($300) million telescope designed and developed by a Spanish consortium.

Spanish-made solar telescope world's biggest
Thanks to its four metre mirror, "it will detect shapes on the sun's surface of as small as 30 kilometres (18 miles) in diameter". Photo: IDOM/NASA

The DKIST, as it has been called, will weigh 500 tonnes and measure 21 metres in height and 27 in diameter.

Its mission will be to supply an image of the sun without any kind of visual obstruction, while protecting all components and external devices from solar radiation and other adverse meteorological elements.

The telescopic chef d'oeuvre will allow scientists in Hawaii to study the behaviour of the sun, the evolution of magnetic fields and the physics behind how solar plasma affects our planet.

Engineers at IDOM, the Basque company that has designed the dome and headed the overall manufacture, will hand over the telescope's shell structure to the US's National Observatory on Tuesday.

The gigantic device is expected to be fully functioning at Maui’s Haleakala’s Observatory in 2019.

"This telescope will be able to spot details never before seen," IDOM project manager Gaizka Murga told Spanish daily El Mundo.

Thanks to its four metre mirror, more than double the size of the currently biggest one in Arizona, "it will detect shapes on the sun’s surface of as small as 30 kilometres (18 miles) in diameter". 

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