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23
May
2013
'First Light' for HELIOS ESAC's Solar Observatory

If all goes to plan, the Solar Observatory Helios at ESAC (European Space Astronomy Center, near Madrid) which is an integral part of the CESAR project, will begin collecting sunlight in the next months. The first milestone was achieved when the h-alpha filter saw "first light" on 23 May 2013, at 20:36.

“We have faced several challenges to mount the protective dome and all the equipment, telescopes and infrastructure. But finally we could point the telescopes, shoot our cameras, and get the first impression of what is to come. The Sun is going now through its 11-year cycle maximum, so we expect plenty of action on its surface and outer layers for the next 2 or 3 years" says Miguel Pérez Ayúcar, Solar Observatory leader.


First light preparation. CESAR

Two telescopes, one for h-alpha and another one for whithe light, will be used to monitor the Sun's activity from dawn to dusk, weather permitting. This should enable students around the world to get acquainted with solar dynamics, instrumentation and general space physics. Or you can simply enjoy the magnificent "live" view of our parent star.

“The Sun images and videos will be posted and archived on dedicated webpages for the Solar Observatory. From there students from all over the world will be able to download and analyze them. There will also be a variety of small science projects presented to teach "future scientists" of all ages how to discover the universe." explains Michel Breitfellner, CESAR Project Coordinator.


First light result in H-Alpha. CESAR Team

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