Questions tagged [telescope]

Questions related to the physical instruments for astronomical observations.

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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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9 votes
2 answers
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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 a SPIDER 230C 2.3 meter diameter compact radio telescope, which costs ~10 k€. ...
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9 votes
2 answers
644 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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9 votes
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398 views

Is it possible to figure out your location in the Milky Way if you are suddenly wormholed to a random, distant location in the galaxy?

If you were flying along in your spacecraft somewhere in our solar system and then a large, stable wormhole suddenly opened and you flew into it and were whisked away to some distant location in the ...
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9 votes
1 answer
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How to determine the scale on astronomical images?

I've always been amazed at the many beautiful images of objects in the night sky. The Andromeda galaxy is a superb example. But it was only a few years ago that I discovered that Andromeda in those ...
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8 votes
7 answers
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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 ...
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8 votes
3 answers
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Telescope on drones to escape light pollution?

Would it be possible to mount a telescope on a high quality drone and fly above the light pollution to get better star shots (if the wind allows it of course)?
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8 votes
3 answers
2k views

Planets looks like normal stars when I see them using telescope

I've been trying to see planets using my 114 mm (aperture) f=900 mm telescope. For the moon, I got very good quality pictures, but when I try to see planets they just appear to be as if I'm looking at ...
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8 votes
2 answers
776 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. ...
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8 votes
5 answers
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Can an astronomical telescope view objects on Earth?

I am new to telescopes and I'm planning to buy an astronomical telescope like the "Celestron AstroMaster 114 EQ Reflector". Just curious to know whether it can be used to view objects on Earth (e.g. ...
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8 votes
5 answers
342 views

Why was the (small) Hubble better able to find KBO targets for New Horizons than large adaptive optics ground telescopes?

When initial searches for a Kuiper Belt object for New Horizons to fly to after passing Pluto did not find good targets, the Hubble telescope was used, and it resulted in the current targeted flyby ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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How can I observe Sgr A* with itelescope.net

I've been experimenting with itelescope.net and tried to observe Sgr A*. I was wondering if there are any suggestions how I can best observe the surrounding stars.
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8 votes
3 answers
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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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8 votes
4 answers
836 views

Where exactly is the modification that first corrected the spherical aberration in Hubble's primary mirror?

The April 2015 CBS News article How NASA fixed Hubble's flawed vision - and reputation describes the modification taken to the Hubble Space Telescopes by the Space Shuttle that was used to correct for ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Plot of best available resolution vs wavelength - radio through gamma rays?

What I'm looking for is a graphic that shows in a general way the best available telescope resolution vs wavelength throughout the entire wavelength spectrum. So for example, there might be two very ...
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8 votes
1 answer
216 views

Why telescope mirror glass shipped as randomly broken chunks of a constant size in cardboard boxes?

The video MIRROR LAB: Preparing for Casting GMT's Mirror 6 shows the unpacking several hundred boxes full of broken glass from OHARA, packed in styrofoam. The glass chunks are a fairly uniform size of ...
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8 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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1 answer
685 views

When might Rowan-Robinson's planet be discovered or disproved?

A month ago Michael Rowan-Robinson discovered three dots on old images of the sky which may or may not be an undiscovered planet (that's not identical to Brown's and Batigyn's hypothetical planet). I ...
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8 votes
1 answer
308 views

How are the world's biggest telescopes cleaned?

How are the world's biggest telescopes, (such as the Very Large Telescope for example) cleaned? My research includes what I have read about CO2 cleaning here. Are there any other ways to cleaning the ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Which type of telescope should I make?

I am not very much interested in observational physics but I just like to look at the night sky. It gives me a lot of inspiration. So, i was thinking about making a telescope for basic observations. I ...
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8 votes
4 answers
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Can we see the color of nebulae?

Someone asked me this question: To see the color of the Great Nebula in Orion, how large the aperture of the telescope should be. I don’t even know whether this is possible. I understand that the ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Is there a cosmic, rather than technological, upper limit to what a telescope can resolve?

Space radio interferometers could have a baseline of millions of kilometers, but is there a point where a larger baseline doesn't improve the resolution anymore because the photons observed are ...
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7 votes
3 answers
596 views

Can we visually perceive exoplanet transits with amateur telescopes?

Is it possible for an amateur astronomer to visually perceive an exoplanet transit by the change of brightness of the star via observations spaced over time, or is the variation of the brightness too ...
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7 votes
2 answers
2k views

Jupiter with a mobile phone and Celestron Astro FI 102mm Maksutov

My name is John, I am new here and now that I am retired I decided to get myself my first ever telescope, why I never got one before I have no idea...probably too busy. So I thought I would try and ...
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7 votes
2 answers
29k views

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a 2-inch eyepiece versus a 1.25-inch eyepiece?

I'm considering picking up some new eyepieces for my telescope and am interested in comparing 2-inch and 1.25-inch eyepieces. Are there any disadvantages to 2-inch eyepieces? Are 2-inch eyepieces only ...
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271 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. ...
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7 votes
3 answers
990 views

Eyepiece diameter for small focal length planetary viewing on a large dobsonian?

I have a 12" dobsonian with a 1500mm focal length and want to do some higher magnification planetary viewing. Currently my highest magnification is ~80x via my 19mm eyepiece (calculated here), but I ...
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7 votes
2 answers
627 views

Why do we use FITS format for scientific images especially in astronomy? How is it different from formats such as JPEG, PNG etc?

I am new to astronomy and I found that the telescopic dataset can be stored in the FITS format instead of JPEG. Why do we have a special image format just for scientific images?
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7 votes
1 answer
282 views

Why not build a swarm of space telescopes?

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has not yet started doing science, yet its successor LUVOIR is being discussed already. However I am curious; some countries have invested billions of dollars in ...
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7 votes
2 answers
26k views

I'm having trouble achieving sharp telescope focus

I've been having trouble getting really sharp focus on my telescope. Using Saturn as a reference, with a 20mm eye piece it is very sharp. But when I go to 10mm or 6mm, it gets bigger and blurrier. I ...
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7 votes
1 answer
556 views

What does par. lines mean in relation to a telescope aperture in 19th century German astronomical publications?

I am trying to understand what is meant by par. lines in an 1867 article "The Aberration of the fixed stars after the wave theory" by Prof. W. Klinkerfues of Royal Astronomy Works of ...
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7 votes
2 answers
295 views

Why not us interferometry to take a picture of Pluto?

Interferometry is among the best ways (if not, the best way!) to have an image of a very distant object. Recently a picture of the black hole at the center of M87 was released. It is the result of ...
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7 votes
2 answers
518 views

My local night sky is so bright that I can only see the Moon, so would a low-cost telescope be any use?

Light pollution is so bad near our home that we can't see anything other the Moon in the night sky. For instance there is a street light on all night right in our lane and there are many other housing ...
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7 votes
2 answers
152 views

Is it possible to use Photolithography for telescope image sensor?

The current largest digital CCD camera is the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, which has a whopping 3.2 gigapixels with a pixel size of 10 micrometers. In contrast, Agfa 10E56 holographic film has a ...
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7 votes
1 answer
7k 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 ...
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7 votes
1 answer
444 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 ...
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7 votes
1 answer
147 views

Where can I find Arecibo's data archive?

Does anyone know where I can find Arecibo's historical data? After much searching, I can find neither hide nor hair of it. It doesn't help that the search results are completely dominated by the news ...
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7 votes
1 answer
141 views

What is the size of the image sensor in the largest optical telescopes?

What image sensors (imaging electronics) are used in telescopes? Like CCD, is that the best option? What is the typical physical size and resolution of the photo-sensitive surface of the currently ...
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7 votes
1 answer
678 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 far)...
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7 votes
3 answers
15k 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.
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7 votes
2 answers
304 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 ...
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7 votes
1 answer
88 views

Occultations of Triton

I've been listening to an episode of the "NASA in Silicon Valley" podcast about the SOFIA mission. One of the techniques they use at SOFIA is stellar occultations to study different objects. My ...
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7 votes
1 answer
275 views

Lucky imaging with Celestron 14 - is this result reasonable?

I attempted to do some lucky imaging of Jupiter using a permanent installation (Celestron $14$" SCT + Paramount ME II) and Nikon D5600 attached directly to a Baader Hyperion 8-24mm eyepiece (...
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7 votes
3 answers
599 views

What range of exit pupils work for observing the full moon?

I'm observing the full moon, from a major city, with heavy light pollution and dust. The objective size is fixed, for this comparison, something between 4 and 6 inches. The question is about the ...
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6 votes
3 answers
3k views

Could someone explain what is wrong with my telescope, and what should I be able to see with it?

In January of 2016, I received my first telescope, through Astronomers Without Borders. It was and is my first telescope: an AWB 130 Newtonian tabletop telescope with a 650mm focal length and a 130mm ...
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6 votes
3 answers
1k views

Trouble Seeing Distant Planets Such as Jupiter and Uranus

I am a beginner and I am using a Celestron AstroMaster 114 telescope. Whenever I try to view distant planets such as Jupiter I am presented with a black circle that has black lines leading from it. In ...
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6 votes
3 answers
2k views

Chromatic aberration in lens

Is there a way to prevent chromatic aberration without using an achromatic lens in refracting telescopes or in any other instruments...?
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6 votes
4 answers
932 views

Why not use only one support vane for the secondary mirror, to avoid multiple diffraction spikes?

Each vane holding the secondary mirror in front of the primary causes a diffraction spike. Couldn't the secondary mirror be held with only one vane? If stability is the issue, couldn't it be ...
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6 votes
4 answers
14k views

What's the difference between a Newtonian telescope and a regular telescope

So, recently I was shopping for telescopes and I decided on the following telescope: https://www.amazon.com/Celestron-21049-127EQ-PowerSeeker-Telescope/dp/B0007UQNKY/ I had exactly $180 to spend, ...
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6 votes
4 answers
1k views

Is there a website that shows equivalent views through different telescopes?

I'm trying to buy a beginners telescope. I have a Celestron TravelScope, but would like something better. When I look at other models, many users have posted images from their viewfinders. Is there a ...
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