The Sun—our nearest star (1981)

The Sun is typical of millions of stars in our galaxy, but it is the only one close enough to been seen in any detail.

At Culgoora, 650 kilometres north-west of Sydney, CSIRO scientists are studying the Sun and its atmosphere, using both radio and optical instruments.

The main optical instrument is a 30 centimetre high-resolution telescope which is used to study the physical processes in the Sun’s atmosphere.

Also at Culgoora is the radio-heliograph, a unique instrument consisting of a ring of 96 aerials, each 13.5 metres across, spaced around a circle 3 kilometres in diameter. It produces images of the Sun at four different frequencies and provides much information about activity in the corona – the Sun’s vast outer atmosphere.

The Sun affects our earthly environment in many ways. It is a giant thermo-nuclear furnace, a unique laboratory in space, in which physicists can study the interaction of hot ionized gases and strong magnetic fields.

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