Why do we need a large solar telescope?

The Sun is a unique astrophysical observatory that has revealed fundamental information which hasprofound impact on physics. The complexities of the Sun involving its internal structure, rotation, convection, magnetic fields, activity and explosive processes in its outer atmosphere are areas of major research which have important astrophysical applications in stars, accretion disks and galaxies. Furthermore, solar physics today has a growing relevance to climate research and space weather in the Earth's environment. Studies of the Sun have contributed to the development of several fields of physics through an understanding of phenomena that involve scales that cannot be simulated in laboratories on the Earth. The Sun has provided tests of the general theory of relativity and studies of its interior have contributed in a significant way to neutrino physics.

Being the nearest star, observations of the Sun reveal details one can never hope to see in distant stars. Precisely because of the richness of the data, it has been a major challenge to understand the complexities of the Sun.

NLST Main Science Goals

NLST's innovative design and backend instruments will enable observations with an unprecedented high spatial resolution that will provide crucial information on the nature of magnetic fields in the solar atmosphere. The following broad science areas will be actively pursued: