Multi Application Solar Telescope (MAST), a telescope for the detailed study of the solar activity including its magnetic field, was operationalised at the Udaipur Solar Observatory (USO) of Physical Research Laboratory (PRL).
MAST is an off-axis Gregorian-Coude telescope with a 50 cm aperture.
Mast, built by Mechanical and Optical Systems (AMOS) of Belgium, was tested by USO for onsite acceptance. Its back-end instruments were developed in-house at USO and include an adaptive optics system and a narrow band imaging polarimeter using a tandem Fabry-Perot etalon pair and LCVR polarimetric module.
Multi Application Solar Telescope (MAST)
• Multi Application Solar Telescope’s dome is a collapsible dome made of tensile fabric.
• It will be used to measure vector magnetic fields of active regions at different heights of the solar atmosphere.
• It will also be used to study seismic effects of solar flares.
Test results accumulated over a year was examined by a committee of experts and telescope was made operationalised on 16 June 2015.
Physical Research Laboratory (PRL)
PRL is an autonomous unit of the Department of Space and is a premier research institute engaged in basic research in the areas of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Solar Physics, Planetary Science and Exploration, Space and Atmospheric Sciences, Geosciences and Theoretical Physics.
Its main campus is located at Ahmedabad and it also has two other campuses at Mt. Abu and Udaipur, hosting the Infrared Telescope and a Multi-Application-Solar Telescope (MAST), respectively. The planetary exploration (PLANEX) programme and the astronomy group are housed in the fourth campus at Thaltej, close to Ahmedabad.
Udaipur Solar Observatory (USO)
The USO considered as the best solar observing site in Asia is situated on an island in the middle of the Lake Fatehsagar of Udaipur, Rajasthan as the sky conditions at Udaipur are quite favourable for solar observations.
The large water body surrounding the telescopes decreases the amount of heating of the surface layers.
This decreases the turbulence in the air mass and thereby improves the image quality and seeing. The main objective of obtaining the high spatial and temporal resolution observations of solar photospheric and chromospheric activity is to understand the various dynamic phenomena occurring on the surface of the Sun.
The observatory was built in 1976 by Dr. Arvind Bhatnagar following the model of the Solar Observatory at Big Bear Lake in Southern California.
Bedies, it is decided that an another instrument, viz., a spectropolarimeter, has been developed at ISRO Satellite Centre, which will be soon deployed at MAST.
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