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Digitisation Of Solar Observations Can Help Explore Impact Of Sun On Climate: Ministry
The digitised record of solar observations over more than 100 years taken on photographic plates and films will help scientists around the world to strengthen their studies of solar variability and its impact on climate, spanning it over a longer time scale
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The Ministry of Science and Technology on Sunday announced the longest continuous observations of the Sun taken from Kodaikanal Solar Observatory (KoSO), one of the oldest astronomical observatories and notified the same to be digitised and available for community use.
It added, the digitised record of solar observations over more than 100 years taken on photographic plates and films will help scientists around the world to strengthen their studies of solar variability and its impact on climate, spanning it over a longer time scale.
Such records are crucial for our future existence, in this sense, observations of the Sun corresponding to the last century allow us to peek into the past, marking the historical observations and enabling us to understand the behaviour of the nearest star in its earlier phase.
It will thus help to predict the future of the Sun as its existence is crucial and understanding the fate of the Sun will help to shape plans for space exploration, as the Sun is the driver for our space weather conditions.
Meanwhile, crucial sunspot data from KoSO, a field station of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bengaluru, was usable for scientific analysis for the period of 1921-2011 due to some significant issues in the data.
The centre has assigned Researchers from two autonomous institutes under the Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology (DST), Govt of India, namely Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences, Nainital, and Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore, led by Bibhuti Kumar Jha, to solve these issues in the data and ensure one of the most homogeneous and extended sunspot data series for around 115 years (1904-2017).
The new results have been published in a recent article in the journal Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences and are available for general study and benefit students and scientists across the world.
The data holds a vital asset for the solar community, apart from pictures of the Sun taken in white light from the same telescope and also those of Ca-K spectra from the chromosphere plasma, the focus on digitising daily hand-drawn pictures of sunspots over a period of 100 years preserved at the KoSO is also on priority.
Dr Dipankar Banerjee, Director of Aries and one of the authors of the paper stated, Artificial Intelligence will help to extract data from hand-drawn pictures and photographs. This will thus facilitate a set of one of the oldest, rare, continuous solar data that will be useful to researchers from different corners of the world.