Conference support for the workshop "Magnetic Fields from the Photosphere to Corona: 2nd ATST-EAST Workshop in Solar Physics", 09-11 November 2011, Washington, D.C.

Two new large telescopes to study our local star (the Sun) are under way. The ATST (Advanced Solar Technology Telescope) is a project of the National Solar Observatory currently in progress, while the European Solar Telescope (EST) is under discussion and design by the European Association for Solar Telescopes (EAST). These two telescopes will bring new enabling technologies and capabilities to the study of the Sun.

This workshop brings together the scientific and technical communities behind the ATST and EST efforts. This meeting is the second in a series intended to bring together precisely those scientists and engineers involved in these two new US and European projects. The meeting allows the participants to exchange ideas on science, technology, and operations of the telescopes.

Project Report

The 2nd Advamced Technology Solar Telescope-European Association of Solar Telescopes (ATST-EAST) Workshop in Solar Physics — Magnetic Fields from the Photosphere to the Corona Introduction Ground-based solar astronomy is currently experiencing a Renaissance. A generation of 1-meter-class solar telescopes, which has served the scientific community well for decades, is being replaced by new, large-aperture solar telescopes. Adaptive optics has enabled routine diffraction limited observations of the solar atmosphere from ground based telescopes. The full scientific potential of large-aperture optical and infrared telescopes equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation can thus be realized. The size and complexity of these new telescope systems are immense and affordable, and maintainable only as ground-based facilities. Large-aperture solar telescopes are about to open up new windows for scientific advances and discovery. The new 1.6-meter New Solar Telescope (NST) at Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) in California and the 1.5-meter GREGOR Telescope on Tenerife, Spain have already demonstrated the potential for advancing our knowledge of the physics of the solar atmosphere, providing significantly improved resolution. The 4-meter Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) currently under construction on top of the 3000-meter Haleakal? in Maui, Hawaii, as well as the 4-meter European Solar Telescope (EST) will enable solar astronomers to resolve solar magnetism on its intrinsic scales and thus make these telescopes the world’s leading ground-based resource for studying solar magnetism that controls the solar wind, flares, coronal mass ejections and variability in the Sun’s output. Intellectual Merit & Broader Impacts On November 9-11, 2011, about 100 scientists, engineers and students met in Washington, DC for the 2nd ATST-EAST Workshop. Jointly organized by the ATST and EAST, the workshop demonstrated the common interests of the European, US and worldwide solar physics community toward next-generation, large-aperture solar telescopes, summarizing the scientific justification of these telescope projects, reviewing the current status of relevant solar physics topics, and establishing new insights in solar physics theory that can only be verified with the new large telescopes. The workshop emphasized the connectivity provided by solar magnetic fields of the classical atmospheric layers of the Sun—photosphere, chromosphere and corona—and the new capabilities that large-aperture solar telescopes will provide for measuring magnetic fields and their dynamic behavior. An intent of this activity was to engage a broad spectrum of stake-holders in solar research with large telescopes. In particular, attention was paid to inviting students and young scientists, including women and under-represented minorities, who will use the future large telescope facilities. Outcomes While this three-day workshop focused on the science drivers behind large-aperture telescope efforts, significant time was allotted to the discussion of ongoing and future telescope and instrumentation efforts and gave an opportunity to present techniques and tools that are vital for scientific exploration using new facilities. The workshop was organized around the following broad topics: 1. Magnetic fields from the photosphere to corona. The topics presented and discussed included magnetic field measurements connecting different layers of the atmosphere, multi-height observations of the dynamic photosphere-chromosphere­corona system, observational signatures of the heating of the upper atmosphere, modeling of magnetic fields and comparison of models and simulations with observations. 2. New telescope and instrumentation efforts, which covered several large-aperture telescope projects and new instrument concepts and developments, adaptive optics for large-aperture solar telescopes and large-aperture coronagraphs. Presentations addressed the discovery potential of 4m-class telescopes and began planning for coordination of large-aperture ground-based telescopes and joint observations with space telescopes as a tool to help understand the 3D magnetic structure of the Sun. Significant time was spent on exchanging ideas that address the tremendous challenges involved in designing and operating the required large-scale systems for data storage, distribution, and exploration. 3. The session on tools and techniques summarized progress made with polarimetric analysis of the solar magnetic field. An ATST Science Working Group (SWG) meeting was held in conjunction with this workshop. The ATST SWG has broad community and international representa-tion, including active involvement from EAST member institutions. Integrating an SWG meeting with the workshop resulted in the presence of a broad spectrum of expertise, enabling many productive sideline discussions that will lead to additional collaborative efforts. Students and young scientists and engineers received direct financial support from this grant to participate in this workshop. These young people were able to interact closely with senior staff from a broad segment of the international solar physics community. The meeting presented a broad cross section of forefront astronomy topics covering both science and technology aspects, and thus was especially valuable for the young instrumentalists present at the workshop. The summary of presentations and discussions of this workshop are available to a broad audience with the publication of the conference proceedings (Rimmele, T.R. et al., Eds., 2012: The Second ATST-EAST Meeting: Magnetic Fields from the Photosphere to the Corona, Proceedings of the Second ATST-EAST meeting, ASP Conf Series 463, 476 pp.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST)
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Nigel Sharp
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Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc.
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