The Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope (SST) is a refracting solar telescope on the peak of the Roque de los Muchachos on the island of La Palma, in Spain’s Canary Islands. The telescope is currently the second largest lensed telescope in the world, with an impressive 38.5-inch (98-centimeter) aperture.
The SST is a vacuum telescope, which means that the air in the tube between the primary lens and the optical lab six stories down is sucked out with a strong vacuum pump. This is done because the large amount of light that passes through the tube would otherwise heat up the air and cause image deformations.
The SST is currently one of the best solar telescopes in the world. It is run by the Institute for Solar Physics at Stockholm University in Sweden.
Unfortunately for telescope enthusiasts, the observatory is quite hard to visit if you don’t work there. Fortunately, those at Stockholm University came up with a way to give people a small glimpse of the impressive equipment. Inside the Institute for Solar Physics’s meeting room in the university’s Albanova Building, you’ll find a 1:42 scale Lego model of the telescope.
The model consists of a few hundred pieces and accurately represents each aspect of the SST, including its size, interior, and the way the telescope moves. It was created as a gift for the retirement conference of the real telescope’s creator and director.
Know Before You Go
The Lego model is located inside the university building and is not freely accessible to the public. However, during open days and telescope shows, it's possible to request to see it, though the tours do not go there generally.