Questions related to the physical instruments for astronomical observations.

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31
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3answers
7k views

How powerful a telescope would allow me to view the astronauts aboard ISS do a space-walk?

This arose from a comment posted against a question elsewhere on the stackexchange How powerful a telescope/binoculars would allow me to view the astronauts aboard the ISS do a space-walk? Aperture? ...
17
votes
7answers
3k views

How can we focus radio telescopes on a star when the earth is spinning?

Reading about the Star KIC 8462852, it has been said that the SETI project turned its radio telescopes towards the star to search for extra terrestrial radio signals as the star had strange ...
16
votes
3answers
5k views

Should I focus more on Aperture or Focal Length for a telescope?

Let's assume there are three types of telescopes with the following specifications: ...
11
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1answer
2k views

Is there any telescope on Earth that can see the lunar rovers on the moon?

If I have the right numbers, it seems to me that even Hubble telescope might barely be able to make out a carcass of a blue whale on the surface of the moon, which puts objects as small as the lunar ...
11
votes
1answer
411 views

How Does a Refractor Telescope Work?

As I understand it, the difference between a reflector and a refractor is that a reflector uses mirrors on the back to reflect the light to the secondary mirror then the secondary mirror reflects the ...
10
votes
3answers
189 views

What limits the usable focal length of telescopes currently?

What barriers - of technology, physics and possibly economy (things that would be possible technologically but are simply too expensive) sets the upper bound on quality of telescopes for observation ...
10
votes
4answers
343 views

Using the Sun as a Gravitational Lens

Can the Sun be used as a gravitational lens to achieve better telescopic viewing? Can this effect be practically used to view celestial objects?
9
votes
1answer
201 views

What is the bluest narrow band filter mounted on ground based telescopes?

If we want to check a QSO's lyman alpha narrow band image, could a ground based telescope do that? I mean under the circumstance that its lyman alpha shifts to 3300A.
8
votes
6answers
587 views

Determine the moons of Jupiter through a telescope

I was doing my own "space exploration" last night with a telescope. Being a space noob I can't visually determine stars or planets (I know the moon, though), but I focused on one particularly bright ...
8
votes
1answer
91 views

How much competition there is for jobs in astronomy compared to other fields of science?

I will soon finish a master's degree in computer science. I have been interested in astronomy for some time, which has included playing around with a Newtonian reflector telescope and reading about ...
8
votes
1answer
67 views

Does the Reflection Method for Looking at the Sun Work For Refractors?

I own a newtonian reflector and occasionally use it (using the reflection method with paper) for looking at the sun. I happen to also own a refractor, but I'm not exactly sure if the reflection method ...
7
votes
1answer
7k views

Best telescope for the viewing of Nebulae, Stars and Planets

So, I am a 15 year old interested into astronomy. My father used to have a reflector telescope, but was never so serious about it that he could recommend me a good telescope. I am looking to buy a ...
7
votes
1answer
240 views

Why does squinting make hard-to-see objects clearer?

So I, like most other astronomy enthusiasts, have, at some point, not been able to see something clearly, such as a star, and have had to squint to be able to see it better. When this happens, the ...
7
votes
1answer
186 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
votes
2answers
140 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 ...
7
votes
0answers
123 views

Method to determine the amount of reflected starlight necessary for an exoplanet to be visible from a given distance/angle?

What is the method to determine the amount of reflected starlight necessary for an exoplanet to be visible from a given distance/angle? (Not from occlusion but actually visible on its own.) Further, ...
6
votes
2answers
152 views

Ninth planet - what else could it be?

So recently it was announced that there might be a ninth planet out there. Some people (from NASA) say the odds are 50% that it is a real planet, since it hasn't been discovered by telescopes yet. ...
6
votes
3answers
285 views

Why are radio telescopes shaped so differently than optical telescopes?

Why are radio telescopes typically only a dish with a receiver above it, while optical telescopes have a primary, plus secondary and sometimes even a tertiary mirror? In other words, why do radio ...
6
votes
1answer
40 views

Infrared Region Telescopes

Why do we need to build telescopes that can view in the infrared? What exactly do we need to see in the infrared region? I know this seems like a really broad question but I'm just curious about it.
6
votes
2answers
362 views

Selecting a Telescope for Viewing Planets

I hope to observe planets like Jupiter and Saturn, and moons. I am a novice when it comes to telescopes and I know images in magazines are not taken with at least 12-inch telescope in a middle of ...
6
votes
2answers
682 views

How does a telescope measure parallax angle?

I know how stars' distances are measured by using parallax, but I want to know how the actual telescope measures the parallax angle. Any helpful links/ explanations are needed.
6
votes
1answer
154 views

What are the next planned space telescopes?

We've had hubble for two decades. Its become the most famous space telescope, and lately Kepler seems to be running for the second place. Are there any more powerful, better telescopes planned for ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Most important feature of a telescope

I was taking an astronomy test, the following question came up: The most important function of the astronomical telescope is: Resolving power Light gathering power magnifying power ...
5
votes
3answers
107 views

Could mirrors be replaced with CCDs?

Why do telescopes use mirrors that simply reflect photons, when they instead could be covered with large sensors to register them? Reflection is all good and well, all thanks to silver and beryllium ...
5
votes
1answer
187 views

Is Sahara desert a good place to build radio/optical telescopes?

At least Atacama Desert of northern Chile is a good place to build telescopes. VLT and ALMA locate there. What about Sahara desert? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atacama_Large_Millimeter_Array ...
5
votes
2answers
146 views

Why when we look through a telescope in space, do the billions of stars not block our view from seeing further?

I know that we are able to "see back into time" by looking very far away through telescopes such as the Hubble telescope, but my question is, wouldn't you run into at least a couple of stars that were ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it safe to view moon at daytime through telescope

I have a little 76mm Newtonian Reflector. I want to see the moon at daytime. Is it safe to look at sky at daytime when sun is shinning or there is any risk of sun.
5
votes
1answer
155 views

Planned telescope to detect alien waste-heat

I remember watching a talk by someone who designed a telescope to view a single star at a time. The purpose of the telescope was to detect waste-heat which would presumably be emitted by any ...
5
votes
1answer
660 views

Are Barlow lenses stackable for bright objects?

I'm back to the refractor that I own, and I want to maximize the zoom capacity. I realized today that I own more than one barlow lens, and I was wondering if I could stack them together for looking at ...
5
votes
1answer
51 views

Diameter of Astronomical Object Using Magnification

I took a picture of Jupiter through my telescope, using an iPhone. I know the magnification of the telescope lens I used, and can Google to get the magnification of the iPhone lens (the magnification ...
5
votes
1answer
38 views

Tools for creating a multiwavelength view of the sky

Not sure that this is the correct place to ask this question, but here goes. I am trying to find tools to accumulate image data (preferably in FITS format) on a given (RA, Dec)-coordinate of sky. ...
5
votes
1answer
55 views

What visual artifacts are expected from the JWST?

What visual artifacts should we expect from the images that will be released from the James Webb Space Telescope? Specifically, do we expect 3-pronged diffraction spikes (any preview how they would ...
5
votes
1answer
241 views

Basic DIY Telescope

I am looking for a design of a cheap and easy telescope to build with my 9yo daughter with the only basic requirement being that I'd love to be able to see detail on the moon. Looking around, there ...
5
votes
1answer
348 views

What's a good step up from 7x50 binoculars?

I own a Nikon OceanPro 7x50 pair of binoculars, but I find that when I look at the moon, I would like more magnification. My requirements are: costs less than $400 weighs less than 10kg the length ...
4
votes
2answers
171 views

What kind of things I could “see” with an amateur radio telescope?

There are apparently not many reasonably priced radio telescopes available for the amateur users. I only could find this one, which costs ~10 k€. Reading the page, I don't get a good overview what ...
4
votes
1answer
105 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
votes
1answer
164 views

What kind of telescope do I need to see most of the Jupiter's moons?

I have a simple Newtonian reflector telescope. Using it, I am able to see the Galilean moons of Jupiter. However, Jupiter has much more moons than that (Wikipedia says 67 have been discovered this ...
4
votes
1answer
163 views

What can a lunar-based telescope do?

What can a lunar-based telescope do? If the band is ultraviolet and it can do high time sampling exposure, maybe it can be used to get distance for a star with stable pulses. However, the star should ...
4
votes
1answer
162 views

Any cheap (less than 100 euro) telescope for observing Jupiter? [closed]

The moon is not challenging. I would like to observe the big planets and their rings.
4
votes
1answer
74 views

Pictures of large galaxies

The Andromeda Galaxy is tens of thousands of light years in diameter. That suggests that the most distant stars in the Andromeda galaxy is up to tens of thousands of years "behind" in their orbit ...
4
votes
1answer
667 views

Periodic error correction in automatic telescopes

I am starting a study on automatic telescopes and the correction of their periodic error. I found two ways of correcting it : with a CCD camera and manually by recording the error. I was wondering if ...
4
votes
1answer
327 views

Build a high quality telescope from scratch [closed]

I am interested in building a high quality portable telescope from scratch in an attempt to better understand how telescopes work. What kind of materials do I need? How would I go about putting the ...
4
votes
1answer
327 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
votes
1answer
438 views

How many bodies can I see with a 90x telescope?

I am a 9th class student so I'm a beginner at using a telescope, hence please help me. How many bodies can I see using a 90x telescope? How will I know when and where I should point a telescope to ...
4
votes
2answers
82 views

Is there an oxide layer on aluminum reflectors for telescopes?

I was watching a Nottingham Science video linked here (periodic videos) and they mention modern reflectors are made of aluminum. I can understand why mirrors are preferred over lenses, but what ...
4
votes
3answers
679 views

Telescope buying guide for a beginner in India

I am located in the southern part of India and am looking forward to buy a telescope to gaze up to look ay farther planets, moons in our solar system and take pictures. How should I go about getting a ...
4
votes
1answer
28 views

How to compare a Catadioptrics light asorbtion with a reflector?

I used to have a 6" Dobsonian reflector, and the next telescope I buy, I want it to have the equivlant of about a 11/12" dobsonian reflector. I'm looking at this Nexstar VX 9.25 , it says 235mm ...
4
votes
1answer
44 views

Has THC been detected in space?

I was wondering if and how astronomers have/had detected the molecule Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), commonly known for it's effects in marijuana, in space. I had previously seen a hoax regarding the ...
4
votes
1answer
104 views

Telescope collimation issue

Recently I purchase Chinese 8 inch reflector telescope from local store. When I observing starts and planets I've been having trouble getting really sharp image from this telescope. I observe Venus ...
4
votes
1answer
85 views

Focusing light through fiber optic cable to extend telescope viewer

I want to build a system to view my telescope without being uncomfortable. Currently I have to stand up and bend over to view the eye piece. I want to build a system that allows me to 'pipe' the ...