Funding for UK access to the Swedish Solar Telescope in 2018

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Department Name: Sch of Mathematics and Physics


The UK solar physics community had access to the Swedish Solar Telescope (SST) up until this year (2016) via the EU-funded SOLARNET agreement. This facility is excellent, witnessed by the UK community's very successful SOLARNET exploitation, with 8 papers in major international journals published since the start of 2015 alone, such as Reid et al 2016, ApJ, 823, 110.

However, with the termination of SOLARNET, this also ended the UK access to the SST. Staff at Queen's University therefore applied to STFC for partial funding to purchase 20 days of time on the SST during 2017, with the remaining costs being borne mainly by Queen's and Armagh Observatory, with some contributions from the Universities of Sheffield and Northumbria. The STFC proposal was funded, and we have now purchased the 20 days of time. We are currently in discussions with the SST staff regarding when the time will be allocated during 2017 (in 2 x 10 day blocks of time).

The 20 days of SST time is for the UK community, not for Queen's University and the other SST funders. Accordingly, we will issue a Call for Proposals in mid-December 2016, via the UK Solar Physics Newsletter, with the expectation that most groups applying for time will receive some. The observations will be undertaken by Queen's and other experienced UK SST observers, effectively in service mode.

The award of the SST time in 2017 has already generated significant interest from the UK community, and indeed we have been asked if this might be extended to 2018. We therefore seek funding from STFC to purchase another 20 days of SST time, to be scheduled in 2018, which once again will be made available to the whole UK community.

The cost of 20 days time on the SST is 51,300 Euros, equivalent to about 44,600 pounds using the Euro/pound exchange rate as at 9 December 2016.

Planned Impact

Impact related to this proposal will be primarily in public understanding of science and other outreach activities in solar physics. Queen's University and other UK solar physics groups are highly active in outreach linked to their solar physics programmes. For example, Queen's University hosts annual events for 5th- and 6th-form schoolchildren, as well as public talks, which discuss our research on the solar atmosphere.


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Title Database of (reduced) data from the ROSA solar imager and instruments on the Swedish Solar Telescope. 
Description Database of reduced solar imaging data from the ROSA imager and Swedish Solar Telescope (including application of image reconstruction software to produce images at the diffraction limit). 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Databases for both ROSA and SST data are now well established and accessed by the solar physics community. 
Description Collaborative agreement for purchase of Swedish Solar Telescope Time 2017 - 2019 
Organisation Stockholm University
Country Sweden 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Part-funding to purchase time on the Swedish Solar Telescope (SST) for use by the UK solar physics community during calendar years 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Collaborator Contribution UK partners - Armagh Observatory, Sheffield University and Northumbria University - also provided a financial contribution to purchase the SST time. There is also an agreement between Queen's University Belfast and Stockholm University for the purchase of the SST time from the latter.
Impact The agreement covers the provision of time on the SST only; exploitation of this time, and resultant publications etc, are the responsibility of the relevant UK teams who have been allocated time. They will hence report on the outcomes of their SST time awards in their own Researchfish submissions.
Start Year 2016