Haleakala Finalist for World's Largest Solar Telescope
Haleakala has been chosen by the National Solar Observatory and its partners as one of three candidate sites for
the 4-meter Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST). ATST will be the world's largest ground-based solar optical observatory.
"The ATST Science Working Group recommended these three based on survey data at each of six sites that we studied
for more than a year," said Dr. Stephen Keil, director of the National Solar Observatory. "Each has a unique
combination of atmospheric conditions and other factors that make it an outstanding location for the ATST. The continued
survey will let us determine which one has the best observing conditions." The
other sites are California's Big Bear Lake and
La Palma in the Canary Islands.
director of the University of Hawaii's Institute
for Astronomy, said, "I am confident that further study will
show that Haleakala is the best site." The
IfA is one of the 22 collaborating institutions,
and IfA Associate Director Jeffrey Kuhn, is
one of the four co-principal investigators.
Final selection is anticipated in late 2004.
The ATST will be a 4-meter, open-aperture telescope employing adaptive optics and other technologies to study
the fine details of solar activity, including sunspots and flares. (For more information, see
Na Kilo Hoku no. 8.)
The continued ATST site survey will determine
which site will maximize the scientific productivity
of the telescope. The desired daytime atmospheric
characteristics of such a site are frequently
clear skies, excellent seeing, low humidity, few
aircraft contrails, and low dust levels. The site
survey was the first time that several sites for
an observatory were simultaneously evaluated with
identical instrumentation, some of which was designed
by IfA astronomer Haosheng Lin.
More information about the ATST can be found