Multi Application Solar Telescope (MAST) which was recently inaugurated by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is one of the biggest telescopes in India. The telescope was inaugurated by Professor UR Rao, former Chairman of ISRO and presently the Chairman of Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) Ahmedabad. MAST will be used to observe the intricate activities in the solar system.
According to an India Today report, very few countries own a telescope such as MAST, and since India has been fortunate to own such a technology, MAST is expected to usher the nation with vital astronomical information.
The MAST is located in the Udaipur Solar Observatory (USO) which comes under the PRL Udaipur . The USO is situated on an island like land form in Lake Fatehsagar of Udaipur. This location is considered ideal for the observatory as it reportedly provides 250 days of sunlight in a year. The presence of the lake will provide the optimum temperature for the lens and also decrease turbulence in the air mass.
Considering the amount of magnification involved, lesser turbulence will result in improved image quality. The rear part of the telescope was built by ISRO and the front part was developed by the observatory itself. With the help of MAST, the scientists can plan to extend the studies to other layers using multiple spectral line diagnostics.
The MAST’s main objective is to capture high resolution 3D images of the Sun’s surface and observing phenomena like solar flares and also study its seismic effects. The telescope can also reportedly capture high resolution images during the day. The lens used in the telescope is based on the optical and mechanical system of Belgium.