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Questions tagged [observatory]

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

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Does the Zwicky Transient Facility only run when triggered by a cell phone?

A really enjoyable interview with Mansi Kasliwal & Samaya Nissanke ("From discovery to making precision measurements") is available as a short audio podcast in the BBC News article Gravitational ...
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Where do local users of ALMA live and work?

These days with high speed internet, observational astronomy can be done from remote locations. Still I believe from time to time an experimenter might travel to work on-site for particularly ...
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Why is the opening in the Anglo-Australian Telescope's dome so small?

Many older or "classic" telescope domes have a horizon-to-zenith opening in the dome, and this helps speed up the thermal equilibration between the inside and outside air, decreasing turbulence and ...
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Impact of Atmospheric Water vapour on Optical Observations

I would like to ask; how does Water Vapour in the atmosphere interfere with astronomical observations? Is it in the same manner as Carbon dioxide? What brought this to mind is the following: A ...
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Question about the relevant physical parameters to build a backyard observatory

I live in a big city: São Paulo, Brazil. I would like to build a simple telescope dome to do some amateur sky obseravtions. But the whole project lies on the viability to see something interresting ...
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After Oumuamua passage, has an “urgency” telescope time request procedure been set up?

During the rapid passing of ʻOumuamua through our solar system, it was difficult to get instant telescope time. Usually, formal requests and a review process are necessary before telescope time is ...
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How does this telescope work, and what is it for?

Procrastinating, I clicked on a suggested video (How Large Can a Telescope Be?) and after about 01:20 I saw a clip of a telescope shown below. I was confused as I ...
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Which telescope's 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. ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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.
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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? ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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.
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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, ...
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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 ...