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Questions regarding structures designed to aid in the observation of astronomical objects.

6
votes
2answers
546 views

Which telescopes model is being shown to Albert Einstein in this file footage? What event might this be?

In the Economist video Why does time pass? there is some file footage of Albert Einstein attending some event where a model of a large telescope is on display, and being described to Prof. Einstein. ...
5
votes
1answer
46 views

What is the meaning of “bright unresolved sources”

In many articles talking about telescopes, they talk often of "bright, unresolved sources". "bright" usually mean that the magnitude should be less than a certain threshold, (or that the signal to ...
3
votes
1answer
37 views

How will “modern equipment” allow the Royal Observatory to now avoid some of the effects of light pollution at Greenwich?

The article First Light: a new era for the Royal Observatory says (in part): 25 June 2018 The first modern, research-grade telescopes have just been installed at the Royal Observatory ...
0
votes
0answers
23 views

Non-typical Secondary Mirror in 20" RC telescope?

We recently discovered that the secondary mirror of our 20" RC has a hole that runs through the center. On the side of the secondary facing the primary there is a metal tube (for lack of a better ...
4
votes
2answers
255 views

Why do telescopes use hexagonal mirror pieces instead of pie slice shaped ones?

Some new large telescopes in the near future, on Earth and in space, will use multiple mirrors. The individual mirror pieces will be hexagonal in shape. I wonder why this shape is prefered over the ...
2
votes
1answer
101 views

What kind of reddish wood is it exactly that was historically used to line the inside of observatory copulas, in order to absorb moisture?

I was told that it was "cedar", but that is an unclear term botanically.
1
vote
2answers
141 views

Where would be the absolute most logical place in USA to observe the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017?

Cloudy weather would defeat the purpose so I am guessing that the western states would be more ideal due to greater chance of clear sky. Isolation would also be nice. At a camp site on or near a ...
4
votes
2answers
86 views

Are there any unmanned large telescopes located on Earth?

I just read the answers to the question "Why are all space observatories in Chile?". In addition to the reasons provided, one of the answers also mentions that ...if the telescope should be manned ...
1
vote
1answer
62 views

Status of new telescopes on Mauna Kea?

I know that there has been conflicts between scientists and the native population. Astronomers want to build new telescopes on Mauna Kea, however, several sacred sites would have to be built on. My ...
1
vote
1answer
63 views

Publish data in the virtual observatory [closed]

I study Computer Science and I need to understand perfectly how is the process of publishing data to the virtual observatory, since I will start a project that seeks to develop another platform to ...
1
vote
2answers
90 views

Which observatories help NASA find 5 new asteroids per day?

I just read the following in the NPR website news article NASA's New 'Intruder Alert' System Spots An Incoming Asteroid. NASA pays for several telescopes around the planet to scan the skies on a ...
5
votes
0answers
73 views

Observatory control software

I'm setting up an observatory and I'm wondering what user-facing software would be best to use in terms of hardware control. There is a German mount, dome, focuser, filter wheel, various switches etc. ...
3
votes
1answer
372 views

Do primary mirrors in large observatories undergo regular removal and re-coating of the aluminum? Why?

Performance of astronomical mirrors that are exposed to the environment for long periods of time can experience a slow degradation of performance. They usually need to receive some kind of regular ...
4
votes
1answer
88 views

When did “resilvering” large telescope mirrors actually refer to aluminization, and why was it necessary?

This answer nicely summarizes the general picture of historical use of silver for mid to large size telescope mirrors, and the shift to aluminum once good quality vacuum pumps and chambers suitable ...
6
votes
1answer
182 views

Was the use of silver on 'optical' telescope mirrors more common in the past? Why?

In the past, weren't many astronomical telescope mirrors periodically removed and 'resilvered', and wasn't this actually done using silver? I'm guessing that this is much less common now - new ...
8
votes
1answer
188 views

What is a quaternary mirror and why does the E-ELT need one?

In this recent BBC article I read the one-sentence paragraph: "Development on the mirrors - in particular, a very complex quaternary mirror - continues apace." and became interested in the ...
2
votes
0answers
35 views

Adverse effects of urban growth on old astronomy observatories? Need article/book [closed]

I am looking to get some information on the adverse effects of urban growth/light pollution on the oldest/traditional observatories of the world (europe). Can anyone recommend me books or articles to ...
4
votes
1answer
110 views

Pyramid shaped observatories

There are some pyramid shaped observatories around the world, like the Solar Lab Pyramid in the Canary Islands or The Pyramid International Laboratory in Nepal. I was wondering, why a pyramid? ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

How will the Breakthrough Initiatives affect other astronomy observations?

BACKGROUND The Breakthrough Initiatives is in the news because of a $100 million private donation for a SETI project. It doesn't seem to be for building any new observatory (but maybe for buying ...
5
votes
1answer
165 views

What makes a really good observatory site, besides altitude?

Let's limit this to optical telescopes. I understand that the higher you are, the less atmosphere is above you to get in the way of observations. From reading around, there seem to be a few more but ...
5
votes
1answer
46 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. ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

Why do astronomers like green laser pointers? [closed]

When I've been to Astronomy-nights for the public at the local observatory, they always used green lasers to point things out. Why is there such a preference for green lasers? What's wrong with red ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

How do I calculate the velocity dispersion of a galaxy given an integral field spectrograph?

I couldn't find on the web how to get the velocity dispersion and velocity maps of galaxies from the 3D data cube that I get from the integral field spectrograph.
10
votes
1answer
156 views

What is the current routine of modern astronomy? [closed]

With about all visible stars catalogued, measured and photographed it seems that chapter is closed. I realize currently while amateur astronomy is big on cataloguing all asteroids in the Solar System, ...
11
votes
3answers
105 views

What are the metrics of observation conditions?

How do professional astronomers measure and describe (ambient) observation conditions? I know smog, light contamination from the city lights, fog, clouds, rain/snow, humidity etc all contribute ...