Behaviour and properties of light, and its interaction with matter, particularly in detection of light.

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156 views

Why does a mirror bent 'like a potato chip' allow space telescopes to be smaller and have a wider field of view?

I was browsing NASA featured items and came across this - Out With the Old, In With the New: Telescope Mirrors Get New Shape Called freeform optics, this emerging mirror technology, brought about ...
7
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1answer
162 views

Theoretically, what is the biggest optical telescope that may exist?

Recently, I read yet another news about E-ELT. It will have 39.3-metre-diameter segmented primary mirror. And I was interested in the next question: Theoretically, what size of the primary mirror ...
7
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2answers
126 views

Why aren't secondary mirrors offset to get rid of diffraction spikes due to the support vanes?

Some kind of ellipsoidal shape mirror could reflect to a secondary mirror which is not in the way of the infalling light. Two advantages are immediately obvious. The primary mirror would not be partly ...
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2answers
296 views

Why does e.g. Hubble's secondary mirror not block part of the picture?

The SOHO observatory has an opaque object in the light path that blocks the direct light from the sun making it possible to observe the corona. Hubble and many other telescopes have a big primary ...
4
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1answer
100 views

How do telescopes “zoom” and change angle of view?

Images from the Hubble Space Telescope have widely different angles of view. Is this only the result of composing multiple images, or can the telescope itself change its "zooming" optically, ...
4
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1answer
303 views

How does a Bahtinov mask work?

For focusing the image of a telescope, one can use a Bahtinov mask. How does this mask work, and how did Mr Bahtinov get the idea to cut such a peculiar shape? Is it possible for me to design my own ...
4
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1answer
49 views

Could spy satellites use laser guide stars (for adaptive optics)?

Are sodium lasers useful for Earth observing space telescopes/spy satellites?
3
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1answer
97 views

Is it possible to steer the sight of a Liquid Mirror Telescope using a plain mirror scheme? If yes, why hasn't it been done?

I have read about Liquid Mirror Telescopes in a number of places, and according to these sources, a major disadvantage of these telescopes is that they can only "see" straight up. In a nutshell, the ...
2
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1answer
166 views

Why can't the surfaces of stars be observed?

If I'm correctly informed, only three stars: Sol, Betelgeuse and Altair have surfaces which have been resolved by telescopes. All other stars are only point sources of light, even in the greatest of ...
2
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4answers
366 views

Enhanced Star-Gazing with Special Glasses

I watched a video yesterday on how telescopes not only magnify images but also increase the amount of light entering into your eye, allowing you to see things not normally visible with naked eye. ...
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2answers
46 views

Astronomical telescope making

I am thinking about making a telescope. I have a 100cm focal length lens which I can use as objective lens in my telescope. So which is the best focal length I can use as eyepiece in my astronomical ...
2
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1answer
37 views

Adaptive Optics?

I get the general idea of adaptive optics. The light from an object distorted by differences in the earth's atmosphere, and a telescope with AO tries to compensate for this distortion by various ...
1
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1answer
191 views

Can the Sun be used as a point source of light to achive better focus?

There's a limit to how well sunlight can be focused by a parabolic reflector or a lens because the Sun is not a point source. I wonder if the sunlight could be engineered to work as if it was (much ...
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44 views

What would be the maximum theoretically possible angular resolution?

I have studied some basic astronomy, but I have difficulty conceptualizing the physics of luminosity and optics. We use electromagnetic spectra to detect existence and properties of distant planets, ...
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7 views

What makes small interferometers useful? Like NIRISS on JWST

NIRISS is an instrument on the James Webb Space Telescope. It has a "non-redundant aperture mask" which obviously covers most of the area of the sensor. It seems to be advantageous for high contrast ...