HomeLatest NewsIt aims to open a one-of-a-kind solar telescope in Hawaii within 3...

It aims to open a one-of-a-kind solar telescope in Hawaii within 3 months

Honolulu: The project director of a new solar telescope in Hawaii that will be the most powerful of its kind hopes scientists will be able to start observing at the facility within three months.
The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, atop Maui’s Haleakala volcano, was scheduled to open last fall. But Thomas Rimele told Hawaii Public Radio on Wednesday that Covid-19 travel restrictions have delayed construction of its critical systems.
He hopes that the current schedule will not be affected by the new spike in coronavirus cases and any additional restrictions. Rimmel was expected to return to Maui as early as this week.
“We’re shooting for Nov. 15. We had a big review, a final construction review that was conducted by the National Science Foundation,” Rimele said. “(Scientists) are really anxious to get their observations and data done.”
The telescope received about 100 proposals from researchers for the initial two-and-a-half-month observing window. The choice, which scientists can go to first, depends a lot on atmospheric conditions and which objects are visible on a given day.
He said a quarter or a fifth of proposals may be approved for the first cycle.
“We are extremely oversubscribed and people have to submit proposals again for the next cycle,” he said. “That’s just how it works.”
The National Solar Observatory says the Inoue telescope will be able to reveal features three times smaller than what scientists can currently see on the Sun.
The Hawaii Supreme Court in 2016 upheld a permit to build the solar telescope.
The following year, more than 100 protesters attempted to block a construction convoy heading to the telescope site, citing the sanctity of Haleakala’s summit. Maui police then arrested six people.
Protests against another telescope planned for a different mountain and island—the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea on the Big Island—have prevented construction crews from working on that project.


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