A new kind of optical filter has been designed by Australian scientists which will allow astronomers to capture the detailed images of the sun.
Developed by CSIRO, the filters will get up close when they blast off aboard the European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter satellite in 2017.
The Solar Orbiter will travel closer to the Sun than any previous spacecraft and will be the first to provide detailed views of the sun’s Polar Regions and inner heliosphere.
The CSIRO’s optics research leader David Farrant says the filters were designed to allow the satellite’s instrumentation to take measurements centred to within 1/30th of a nanometre. That’s just a tiny fraction of the width of a human hair.
“Our optics lab is the only place in the world where filters of this kind can be made to such precise specifications,” Dr Farrant says.
“We had to develop a series of new techniques, precision lasers and even a new testing chamber, just to make this work.”
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