September 23, 2015 – Early in the Fall of 2015, a team of scientists and engineers from the High Altitude Obsevatory (HAO) successfully completed a Critical Design Review for the Visible Spectro-Polarimeter (ViSP).
The ViSP instrument is one of 4 first light instruments being developed for the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST), currently under construction on the summit of Haleakala on the island of Maui in Hawaii. DKIST will help scientists better understand how magnetic fields affect the physical properties of the Sun, what roles they play in our solar system and how they affect Earth.
The CDR represents the culmination of more than 30 months of design work, trade studies and analyses which will ensure that the ViSP instrument is able to provide important insights about the dynamics of the solar photosphere, chromosphere and corona. The ViSP instrument will be able to simultaneously measure three distinct solar emission lines at a very high spectral resolution. Subsequent analysis of these spectral signatures will allow scientists to infer magnetic fields at very small spatial scales and will increase our understanding of the role of these three regions in the emergence and development of magnetic structures which ultimately influence the solar-terrestrial environment.
The ViSP Instrumental development effort at HAO is being led by Principal Investigator Roberto Casini and is supported by several other staff members including Alfred de Wijn, Phil Oakley, Dennis Gallgher, Alice Lecinski, Greg Card, Brandon Larson, Rob Graves and former colleague Rich Summers.
The next step for the team will be to fabricate, deploy and commission the final instrument at the DKIST in the Spring of 2019.
DKIST is funded by the National Science Foundation. The project is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy and the National Solar Observatory. DKIST represents a collaboration of 22 institutions from across the solar physics community, including, the High Altitude Observatory, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the University of Hawaii for Astronomy, and the University of Chicago Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. International instrument partners include Germany and the United Kingdom.