European Solar Telescope

Canary Islands


The European Solar Telescope (EST) is a next generation large-aperture solar telescope. This 4-metre telescope will be optimised for studies of the magnetic coupling between the deep photosphere and upper chromosphere. This will require diagnostics of the thermal, dynamic and magnetic properties of the plasma over many scale heights, by using multiple wavelength imaging, spectroscopy and spectropolarimetry. To achieve these goals, the EST will specialize in high spatial and temporal resolution using various instruments simultaneously that can efficiently produce 2D spectral information. EST will be located in Canary Islands, one of the first-class locations for astronomical observations.

The scientific challenge

A consensus exists among solar astronomers worldwide that a significant increase in observing capability is needed to understand the fundamental processes that control plasma physics in the Sun's outer atmosphere, approaching the following key questions as a priority goal:

  1. What can the Sun teach us about fundamental astrophysical processes? Observations of the Sun reveal intricate patterns of magnetic fields and the complex dynamics of a stellar atmosphere at the physically relevant spatial scales. 
  2. What drives solar variability on all scales? The Sun varies on a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, displaying important energetic phenomena over the whole range. We do not fully understand and cannot accurately predict basic aspects of solar variability.
  3. What is the impact of solar activity on life on Earth? Solar magnetic activity variations induce terrestrial changes, which can affect millions of humans on short and long time scales. We need to predict disturbances of the space environment, which are induced by the Sun and to understand the links between the solar output and the Earth’s climate

The Impact

All the involved ESFRI have requirements for time domain astronomy standards. EST requirements include increasing the findability and accessibility of high resolution ground-based datasets to pave the way to handling large volumes of EST data. This will include metadata recommandations and to enable the interface between solar and astronomy interoperability frameworks, and interoperable visualisation. Furthermore, EST facility is looking for solutions for the open-access and management of data. One of ESCAPE aims is establishing data stewardship policy and training for the staff of the concerned ESFRI projects. The ESCAPE project is also aiming at opening up opportunities for a creation of cross-border approach for all researchers concerned by the FAIR, and EST ESFRI facilities also associated in the project.