34th Solar Physics Division Meeting, June 2003
Session 20 Instrumentation
Poster, Wednesday, June 18, 2003, 3:30-5:00pm, Mezzanine

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[20.25] 1.6 m Off-Axis Solar Telescope at Big Bear Solar Observatory

P.R. Goode (Big Bear Solar Observatory/NJIT), BBSO/NJIT Team, Mees Solar Obs./U. Hawaii Team

New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), in collaboration with the University of Hawaii (UH), is upgrading Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) by replacing its principal, 65 cm aperture telescope with a modern, off-axis 1.6 m clear aperture instrument from a 1.7 m blank. The new telescope offers a significant incremental improvement in ground-based infrared and high angular resolution capabilities, and enhances our continuing program to understand photospheric magneto-convection and chromospheric dynamics. These are the drivers for what is broadly called space weather -- an important problem, which impacts human technologies and life on earth. This New Solar Telescope (NST) will use the existing BBSO pedestal, pier and observatory building, which will be modified to accept the larger open telescope structure. It will be operated together with our 10 inch (for larger field-of-view vector magnetograms, Ca II K and H\alpha observations) and Singer-Link (full disk H\alpha, Ca II K and white light) synoptic telescopes. The NST optical and software control design will be similar to the existing SOLARC (UH) and the planned Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) facility led by the National Solar Observatory (NSO) -- all three are off-axis designs.

The highest resolution solar telescopes currently operating are in the sub-meter class, and have diffraction limits which allow them to resolve features larger than 100~km in size on the sun. They are often photon-starved in the study of dynamic events because of the competing need for diffraction limited spatial resolution, short exposure times to minimize seeing effects, and high spectral resolution to resolve line profiles. Thus, understanding many significant and dynamic solar phenomena remains tantalizingly close, but just beyond our grasp.

Research supported in part by NASA grant NAG5-12782 and NSF grant ATM-0086999.


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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #3
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.