Ladakh to have World’s largest solar telescope
World’s largest solar telescope is likely to be established in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir by the end of 2013. The project costing Rs. 300 crore would come up either at Hanle or Merak village near Pangong Lake in Ladakh.
What would this telescope do?
The telescope, with an aperture of two metres, will aid in understanding the process of creation and decay of sunspots, apart from furthering cutting edge research on other fundamental phenomena taking place on Sun.
What is the need to study what’s happening on the Sun?
With the help of this telescope it would be possible to get crucial information on the nature of magnetic fields in the solar atmosphere. A better understanding of the formation and decay of sunspots assumes importance as they pose a threat to the communication system on earth as well as satellites orbiting in the outer space. Increased sunspot activity frequently follows an increase in the efflux of matter from the Sun in the form of solar wind. Charged particles in this wind can interfere with the operation of satellites by introducing what is called background static and also interact with atoms in the upper part of earth’s atmosphere and thus wreaking havoc with the communication systems on ground. Satellites in low earth orbit face greater risk as during periods of intensified solar activity, the earth’s upper atmosphere swells up slightly in response to the extra heating, which in turn increases the rate of decay of these satellites.