Jeff Kuhn: Magnetic Attraction

The Sun has profound long- and short-term effects on the Earth that are controlled by its magnetism. The Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) and its instruments will soon revolutionize our understanding of how and why the solar magnetism varies.

DKIST under construction on Haleakala, Maui, is expected to start observing the Sun in 2020. It will then rely on two complex infrared instruments being built by the University of Hawai’i Institute for Astronomy. Their goal is to measure the solar magnetism in the Sun’s corona to better understand its influence on the Earth’s space environment.

The Cryogenic Near-Infrared Spectropolarimeter (CryoNIRSP) is the first of the instruments to be completed; it has been successfully tested at the IFA’s Advanced Technology Research Center on Maui.

“The CryoNIRSP instrument is one of the largest astronomical instruments the IfA has built. As soon as DKIST becomes operational, this will become the workhorse that local scientists and visitors from all over the world will use to trace the Sun’s coronal magnetism and its influence on the Earth.”  —  Jeff Kuhn