August 2017: Project SunbYte: solar astronomy on a budget.

The SunbYte Logo

By Viktor Fedun, Yun-Hang Cho, et al.
Journal: Astronomy & Geophysics, Volume 58, Issue 2, 1 April 2017, Pages 2.24–2.25
DOI is: 10.1093/astrogeo/atx058

Summary: Ground-based solar telescopes are expensive to build. They need expensive mirrors and hardware in order to take detailed pictures of the sun which scientists can then use for research. They can also pick up inference from the atmosphere which can skew the readings registered. This is a big problem within the industry and research areas.

In 2016, the University of Sheffield, working alongside Northumbria University, the University of Hull and Queen’s University Belfast, launched the SunbYte project. The multidisciplinary team of students, from Undergrads to PhD study, aim to design and build a telescope which can gather high grade data from an altitude so that is can observe the Sun’s highly magnetised and dynamic chromosphere. Using a balloon, the SunbYte telescope will rise to the Earth’s lower atmosphere to observe the Sun in the Hα spectral line.

Using novel manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing to optimize the mechanical performance and produce a low-cost, the SunbYte will create a viable alternative to ground-based telescopes.

The SunbYte team includes: Viktor Fedun, Yun-Hang Cho, Fernando Alvarez Gonzalez, Ana-Maria Badilita, Andrew Baker, Navtej Dhot, Chris Hare, Tianyou He, Mahed Javed, Helena Livesey, Charles Lord, George Panoutsos, Anton Permyakov, Simon Pope, Michael Portnell, Lauren Rhodes, Rahul Sharma, Petrica Taras,  Rosanna Tilbrook, Gary Verth, Stuart N Wrigley, Mohamed Yaqoob, Richard Cook, James McLaughlin, Richard Morton, Eamon Scullion, Sergiy Shelyag, Alexander Hamilton, Sergei Zharkov, Dave Jess and Mark Wrigley.