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Questions tagged [observatory]

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

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13 votes
4 answers
2k views

Vera C. Rubin's LSST's ginormous camera's shutter; why does it open/close 1000 times a night & is this typical for large-format survey telescopes?

CNET's April 23, 2024 World's Largest Camera, the 3.2-Gigapixel LSST, Is Complete says after about 02:19 That shutter is actually so big it had to be broken down into two pieces just to fit inside ...
3 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is this an image of an astronomical observatory? If not, what's behind these domes?

I was watching the June 3, 2024 video The solar-powered aircraft flying high in the atmosphere | BBC News and saw file footage of what appears to be two astronomical telescope domes in Kenya and a ...
1 vote
1 answer
165 views

What is a place to find raw numbers of sunspots from the past, as counted daily by sun observer?

What is a place to find raw numbers of sunspots from the past, as counted by sun observers ? I have already visited 100+ of websites (NOAA, NASA, ESA, Japanese Institute ..) and what is offered is ...
0 votes
2 answers
998 views

Why does Helix Nebula look like an eye?

The infrared lights, the material clumps that radiate and the whole view resembling a celestial firework or giant eye
1 vote
0 answers
74 views

What is Helix Nebula made up of?

The Helix is a planetary nebula, the glowing gaseous envelope expelled by a dying, sun-like star. Helix nebula consists of two gaseous disks, how they are formed or which material is present in it.
2 votes
2 answers
269 views

What is the LSST now? Where does LSST end and Vera C. Rubin Observatory begin?

Space.com's It's Official: Vera Rubin Observatory Named to Honor Dark Matter Scientist says: "We're here today to focus on the major renaming of the facility after a pioneering astronomer, that ...
4 votes
1 answer
125 views

Which University of Oklahoma research purported to "detect thousands of extragalactic planets back in 2018"? Which instrument was used?

After the first round of popular news items about the "first extragalactic exoplanet" discovery, CNET's Did astronomers find the first planet outside of the Milky Way? It's complicated ...
5 votes
2 answers
217 views

What are the technological advancements that made it possible for modern large telescopes to work with alt-az mounts instead of equatorial mounts?

The video Earth's Rotation Visualized in a Timelapse of the Milky Way Galaxy - 4K (linked below) and discussion below this answer to Why does a timelapse video of a stationary Milky Way make the ...
6 votes
2 answers
269 views

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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
86 views

Why is plasma used to deposit aluminum on the VLT's four large mirrors?

In Tim Scott's October 2, 2023 video "The largest telescope that will ever be built*" (note the asterisk, link below) there is a discussion of the "re-silvering" of the four main ...
6 votes
1 answer
215 views

Mauna Kea versus Mauna Loa: Astronomy ethical considerations

There have been controversies and conflicts related to telescopes/observatories developed on Mauna Kea, as described here. However, there does not seem to be controversies related to observatories on ...
2 votes
1 answer
113 views

How are the Extremely Large and Thirty Meter Telescopes coming along ("planned 2027")

The graphic above is oft-cited in SE questions and answers. I was (a little) sad to see in it that the 100 meter telescope-engineering wunderkind Overwhelmingly Large Telescope or "OWL" has ...
20 votes
1 answer
2k views

"Next Generation Arecibo Telescope (NGAT)... would combine a 314-metre-wide platform with a swarm of 9-metre dishes on top" What would that look like?

In Nature News' August 11, 2023 Closing down an icon: will Arecibo Observatory ever do science again? found in The Observatory there is discussion of the Next Generation Arecibo Telescope (NGAT): ...
15 votes
2 answers
1k views

What telescope is Polish astronomer Kazimierz Kordylewski holding in this April 1964 photo at the Jagiellonian University Observatory in Krakow?

The following questions touch on Kordylewski clouds Can dark matter accumulate at Lagrange points? Are dust-dust collisions necessary to explain Kordylewski clouds at Earth-Moon L4/5? Aren't the ...
33 votes
4 answers
3k views

What will succeed the Arecibo Observatory?

Just a few minutes ago, I got a notification from Space.com stating that the Arecibo Observatory will be, sadly, decommissioned due to extensive damage to its structure. So, with the loss of one of ...
17 votes
1 answer
1k views

Will the Vera C. Rubin Observatory (formerly the LSST) make a significant increase in the rate of astronomical event alerts?

The NPR news article and podcast New Telescope Promises To Revolutionize Astronomy updates the status of the "Large Synoptic Survey Telescope under construction on Cerro Pachón in Chile". ...
4 votes
0 answers
76 views

How would the "Fluidic Telescope (FLUTE)" next generation telescope make and control a smooth, correct concave optical surface figure in microgravity?

The January 10, 2023 NASA Ames Research Center news item Fluidic Telescope (FLUTE): Enabling the Next Generation of Large Space Observatories discusses a proposed project to study the feasibility of a ...
2 votes
0 answers
42 views

Is there any open data base for raw spectroscopy data?

I'm msc. student in physics and will start my thesis in a month. We are in search of a topic with my thesis professor and we talked about many ideas. After all, "what will this give us ...
6 votes
1 answer
1k views

How does the James Webb Space Telescope achieve a focal length of 131.4m?

How does the James Webb Space Telescope achieve a focal length of 131.4m ?
3 votes
1 answer
110 views

Does JWST have the largest bandwidth of any telescope?

If the longest and shortest wavelengths that JWST can focus are 28.3 and 0.6 microns respectively, then it has a bandwidth (max/min) of a factor of about 47. That's a lot, and of course it needs ...
5 votes
2 answers
262 views

What programs do astronomers use to ensure their observatory control computer has accurate time?

Somewhere I've seen that especially those observing asteroids, in order to provide accurate observations, use timing servers that sync to atomic clocks. What software can be used to do that?
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why was the Vera C. Rubin Observatory LSST Camera tested with a broccoli and a pinhole?

The SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory video Vera C. Rubin Observatory LSST Camera (caution! annoyingly loud music, lower volume before playing) shows a Romanesco broccoli (which I'd assumed was a ...
6 votes
0 answers
135 views

Airy's Water Filled Telescope: help required to fully understand the calibration procedure followed

I am reading/studying the instrument description of Airy's Water Filled Telescope (Airy, G. B., "History and Description of the Water Telescope of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich", ...
5 votes
1 answer
972 views

Building a floating, ocean-going giant radio telescope?

Given the loss of the Arecibo telescope: Is anybody aware of any efforts or studies towards a floating, ocean-going radio telescope of with 500m diameter or more? The idea is floating (pun intended) ...
12 votes
1 answer
236 views

What alternative facilities would be available in the event of JWST being destroyed?

Unfortunately, space launches can and do go wrong. Suppose that after all the delays and budget overruns, the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope fails and the telescope becomes a cloud of very ...
0 votes
0 answers
143 views

How exactly does NEOSTEL's fly's eye telescope's secondary mirror array split the primary beam among sixteen cameras?

Wikipedia's NEOSTEL says: The Near Earth Object Survey TELescope (NEOSTEL - also known as "Flyeye") is an astronomical survey and early-warning system for detecting near-Earth objects sized ...
5 votes
1 answer
122 views

Why orient a refracting telescope to the North?

I'm a french Guide of french military heritage. I have to prepare visit about "L'observatoire de la Marine, moulins du faouëdic" (Former windmill which served as an astronomical and ...
1 vote
1 answer
85 views

Which three telescopes are these atop a mountain in Hawaii as seen on CNN? Is this webcam view available to the public?

CNN's new video Alaska reached temperatures warmer than California in December includes file footage from a webcam from the top of a mountain in Hawaii showing three observatories. Annotation at the ...
1 vote
1 answer
84 views

Did astronomers ever use photographic plate rotation along with alt-az mounts?

The video Earth's Rotation Visualized in a Timelapse of the Milky Way Galaxy - 4K (linked below) and discussion below this answer to Why does a timelapse video of a stationary Milky Way make the ...
1 vote
1 answer
70 views

Which studies prior to 2018 "claimed to find evidence of extragalactic planets in the Andromeda galaxy"? Which instrument was used?

After the first round of popular news items about the "first extragalactic exoplanet" discovery, CNET's Did astronomers find the first planet outside of the Milky Way? It's complicated ...
23 votes
1 answer
6k views

Why can't observatories just stop capturing for a few seconds when Starlink satellites pass though their field of view?

Given that the positions and trajectories of the Starlink satellites are public, why can't the telescopes just ignore the photons they receive when the satellites pass through the field of view? It ...
3 votes
1 answer
60 views

Optical Observation Calls: How and Where to apply for optical observations?

How and Where to apply for optical observations to support a research project? I'm involved with research in multifrequency astrophysics and my next project will demand optical (spectroscopy) ...
5 votes
1 answer
624 views

What two "little observatories" run by a university in Chile and "by Germans" are near the future site of the Extremely Large Observatory?

Brady Haran is known for the Numberphile and Periodic Table of Videos YouTube channels but also does Deep Sky Videos. In the video for the Extremely Large Telescope Haran stands at the site of the ...
6 votes
1 answer
491 views

What (if any) capabilities of Hubble are unique and irreplaceable? What can it do that can't be done by any other ground or space-based telescope?

It's impossible to summarize in an SE post the depth and breadth of the contributions to science made using the Hubble Space Telescope. Above the atmosphere it has access to an extremely dark and ...
2 votes
0 answers
223 views

What is the difference between a Cassegrain telescope and a Gregorian one? Which one is better?

Of the three giant (or 'Extremely Large') new telescopes being built, the Thirty-Meter (TMT), the the Giant Magellan (GMT) and the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), only the Magellan, from what I ...
3 votes
2 answers
541 views

How do you determine whether a certain object can be detected by an observatory based on coordinates?

If I am given the latitude and longitude of an observatory or observation point, how can I determine whether a given object, based on its equatorial coordinates, is observable from that observatory?
1 vote
1 answer
230 views

How did I flip some mirrors around in the dark at 3 AM and change the focal length of a 24 inch Boller and Chivens?

Current answer(s) to How do telescopes "zoom" and change angle of view? are "they don't", but traditional large genera-purpose observatory telescopes do sometimes (often?) have ...
18 votes
2 answers
2k views

How can astronomers pinpoint the location of the source of a neutrino?

In the popular press, in recent months, we have heard a lot about high-energy neutrinos from far outside our solar system reaching our detectors.... But I wonder... If a single neutrino from a great ...
0 votes
1 answer
225 views

Can I use the parallax coefficients for observatories as a proxy for latitude using arctan2(sin, cos)?

In How are the three character IAU Minor Planet Center's Observatory Codes assigned? Why are some letters so popular? I looked at the distribution of the first alphanumeric character versus the value ...
8 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
7 votes
2 answers
392 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 Greenwich, ...
10 votes
3 answers
2k views

Observatories that allow public access

Are there any observatories with high powered telescopes that also allow public access? Astronomy is a VERY expensive addiction, because no matter what telescope you get, you always want the next ...
1 vote
0 answers
76 views

Are there for-profit observatories?

I'm making a new website for the folks at MIRA.org, and in a bit of curiosity I found myself wondering if there are observatories that are for-profit organizations. What would they even do?
2 votes
0 answers
65 views

Can telescopes determine whether Hygiea is in hydrostatic equilibrium?

10 Hygiea is a spherical body in the main asteroid belt. With future telescopes like the Vera Rubin LSST or the James Webb Space Telescope, can we determine whether Hygiea is actually in hydrostatic ...
1 vote
1 answer
136 views

How are the three character IAU Minor Planet Center's Observatory Codes assigned? Why are some letters so popular?

Answers to Latitude, longitude and altitude of Ckoirama Observatory; where can things like this be looked-up? point to https://www.minorplanetcenter.net/iau/lists/ObsCodesF.html which currently lists ...
4 votes
4 answers
900 views

Latitude, longitude and altitude of Ckoirama Observatory; where can things like this be looked-up?

This answer to Is Starlink 1130 (Darksat) really dimmer? links to the March 16, 2020 paper in arXiv First observations and magnitude measurement of SpaceX's Darksat which finds only a modest decrease ...
8 votes
2 answers
800 views

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. ...
1 vote
0 answers
33 views

Nebula and its Colours [duplicate]

A Nebula boasts of Too Bright Awesome Colors that includes red, blue, green, orange, white, etc? They're result of excitation of electrons. Is there a clear explanation as in which Color is ...
2 votes
1 answer
171 views

Do large telescopes, especially plans for the LSST, avoid saturation artifacts from the brightest stars and planets? If so, how?

This interesting answer to What is the LSST's plan to address frequent satellite trails in data? quotes: From the LSST webpage: The first group of Starlink satellites are sufficiently bright during ...
2 votes
2 answers
172 views

What would be the scientific impact of locating the Thirty Meter Telescope at its alternate site?

The NPR.org article Hawaii Protesters Block Access Road To Stop Construction Of Massive Telescope briefly summarizes the situation, one paragraph says: The TMT, as it is called, has been the object ...