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2answers
2k views

What is the highest useful magnification todays largest telescopes can offer?

I know that the maximum (useful) magnification is limited by the diffraction limit, but I was not able to find numbers for the highest useful magnification factors using modern large telescopes. How ...
7
votes
1answer
237 views

Why aren't there any arrays of visible light telescope?

There have been many radio telescope arrays which are capable of resolving stars significantly fainter than can be resolved with a single "small" radio telescope. Why don't they do the same with ...
1
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2answers
90 views

Any projects to build a telescope in space?

Like in the title. With E-ELT we are pushing the limit of what we can build on the ground. With JWST we are pushing the limit of what can we launch into space. So instead, why don't we launch tools ...
5
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2answers
123 views

How many watts of light do instruments in modern telescopes need?

I just calculated that if the European extremely large telescope(978 m^2 area) would be pointed at the Andromeda galaxy once it is built, it will only get mere 1.2*10^-6 Watts of power from Andromeda. ...
2
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1answer
207 views

How to measure the altitude of an object in the sky?

If I use a telescope to observe a plane in the sky, how can I find the altitude of the plane(altitude of the plane with respect to the ground)?
18
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5answers
464 views

Why don't we have a better telescope than the Hubble Space Telescope?

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was launched in 1990, more than 20 years ago, but I know that it was supposed to be launched in 1986, 24 years ago. Since it only took 66 years from the fist plane to ...
8
votes
1answer
433 views

Why are telescopes on top of Mauna Kea instead of Mauna Loa?

Many large and important telescopes are located on top of Mauna Kea on Hawaii. This is a great location for many reasons: it's tall enough to be above the weather, an inversion layer at night keeps ...
6
votes
1answer
487 views

How big of a telescope to view Gliese 581g in great detail?

I've always been interested in mega sized telescopes and how big they would have to be to see exoplanets in great detail. So, Gliese 581g is 22 light years away. Could we build a telescope in space ...
4
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3answers
398 views

Is it possible to take a picture of a star?

In this question I am not considering the sun, but only other stars. Stars are big, but they are also far away. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star The nearest star to the Earth, apart from the ...
15
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6answers
2k views

Lenses (refractor) or mirrors (reflector) telescope?

What differentiates, in terms of practical quality, not technical implementation, a refractor from a reflector telescope? Why would one prefer a refractor over a reflector, when reflectors come with ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do focal lengths affect magnification?

For compound lenses, the image formed by first lens acts as the imaginaryobject for the second lens. In telescopes, the objective lens projects an image on its focal point which works as the object ...
11
votes
2answers
321 views

Why does a blue sky at dusk appear nearly black through a telescope?

Earlier this evening I was looking at the Moon through my cheap toy telescope (x150 magnification) when I noticed a (rather mundane) optical effect I couldn't explain. The Sun had just dipped below ...
3
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1answer
2k views

Telescope size to view saturn

What is the properties (size, etc) of required lenses for minimal telescope to see the Saturn rings clearly?
8
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4answers
3k views

How can I stabilize an unstable telescope?

I have an 80 mm refractor telescope on a tripod, but it shakes on every touch. It's very hard to see via 6 mm (x120) ocular. Even a little wind causes the image to become too unsteady. How ...
10
votes
4answers
5k views

Is building your own reflector telescope worth it?

I have always fancied building my own reflector telescope. I am wondering - For a certain budget, can you get better results with a home made rig? Or is this a folly, and really it would be better to ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Hartmann mask based collimation

Is there a detailed description for a Hartmann mask based collimation process? I've been told by a friend that is possible to collimate an SCT by placing a three round holes Hartmann mask at the ...
3
votes
3answers
144 views

Quality loss when adding more components to a telescope?

I would think this would be inherently true, but I'm curious: (Assuming the highest quality amateur instruments are used.) Is quality lost when, say, adding a T-mount adapter, diagonal or any other ...
4
votes
1answer
84 views

Should I be concerned about spot corrosion on a telescope's primary mirror?

I am considering buying a telescope with a large primary mirror that is about seven years old - it has a small spot of corrosion on the mirror, that the owner says is stable. Should I be concerned ...
0
votes
2answers
871 views

Do I need to focus the telescope?

I purchased a 90x refractor telescope with below configuration. Objective: 50mm diameter with 360mm focal length 2 Eye pieces: 6mm, 20mm (10-1/ 8" scope) 1.5x erecting eye piece It measures 13- ...
3
votes
2answers
268 views

The Bahtinov focusing mask

I'm looking for a webpage or a book or reference that might give me a better (and hopefully more scientific) understanding of how the Bahtinov mask works (which I understand to be the same as ...
5
votes
5answers
70 views

Which current big Earth-based telescopes are equipped with adaptive optics?

I know only that the VLT is equipped with adaptive optics (AO) to bypass atmospheric distortion. Is it the only one, or have other telescopes been build with AO in the optical and infrared spectrum?
8
votes
5answers
122 views

Exoplanet detection via space-based parasol

I remember from watching Cosmos years ago, Carl Sagan suggested an interesting hypothetical method for directly seeing exoplanets. He proposed that in the 'future' we could launch a satellite designed ...
4
votes
3answers
123 views

How long would it take to scan the visible universe for unique signals?

The article Amazing rays as star succumbs to dark side talks about a very large black hole swallowing up a star. The report goes on to say that the only reason it was discovered was because it shot ...
9
votes
1answer
50 views

How do I use this 'Horizon Observatory'?

Just around the corner, we have one of these: It's at the Halde Hoheward (article in the German wikipedia), and it's called a 'Horizon Observatory' by the people who built it. How does it work ...
10
votes
2answers
199 views

How do air Cherenkov telescopes work?

The very highest energy photons, gamma-rays, are too energetic to be detected by standard optical methods. In fact they rarely actually make it to the surface of the Earth at all but interact with ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Why is the Ritchey–Chrétien telescope preferred in professional astronomy?

Hubble, as well as numerous other professional telescopes, use the Ritchey–Chrétien design. What optical and instrumental advantages does this kind of telescope have for professional astronomy?
10
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2answers
2k views

Observing Jupiter's non-Galilean moons

What strength of telescope is required to observe some of the non-Galilean moons of Jupiter? My current telescope at 50 magnification resolves the Galilean moons well, but I'm guessing it's far ...
8
votes
1answer
89 views

What size aperature would I need to find and see the supernova in M51?

On June 2, 2011, a new supernova was identified by an amateur French astronomer in M51. What size telescope aperture would one need to have any chance of seeing this? Given the right sized scope, ...
7
votes
6answers
2k views

Can any telescope be used for solar observing?

Can any telescope, such as a 8" reflector, that is normally used at night to look at planets be used or adapted for solar observing? What kind of adapters or filters are required or is it better to ...
22
votes
3answers
3k views

How to determine what size telescope to buy

A couple of years ago my son showed an interest in astronomy and we bought a 6" reflector telescope. We use it pretty regularly and have enjoyed it immensely. Lately we've both been wishing we had ...
29
votes
4answers
574 views

Telescopes to avoid as a beginner? [closed]

I've heard people talk about "department store scopes" or "trash scopes". How do I know what to avoid in a beginner scope? How can I know that I'm not getting something we will be more frustrated with ...
8
votes
1answer
123 views

Where can I find information for how to create amateur radio telescope?

Where can I find good source of information for how to create amateur radio telescope. Particularly interested in creating Fresnel Zone Plate Antennas (aka flat dish). design, diagrams, ...
-1
votes
2answers
4k views

Celestron NexStar 6 SE vs. Orion XT8 [closed]

I'm interested in purchasing a new telescope and have narrowed it down to the NexStar 6 SE vs. the Orion XT8. I'd like to be able to get into astrophotography and read that having the Go-To ...
5
votes
3answers
91 views

How to get started in Astronomy (UK based) [closed]

I have always been interested in space and astronomy (in my youth - I wanted to be an astronaut). However for various reasons, I never quite got started. I now want to get started - small but ...
3
votes
2answers
66 views

Particular targets of high angular resolution infrared telescopes

I work in the field of infrared interferometry, specifically instrumentation. As such, I need to be aware of the science goals of such an instrument. Is there a quick list of important and ...
1
vote
0answers
41 views

What equipment is needed for equatorial drift scanning/TDI with a Dobsonian?

It should be possible to do a "parked scan" along the celestial equator ("stripe 82" and "stripe 10") with a Dobsonian telescope, as no tracking is required. I can foresee two issues, though: first, ...
6
votes
2answers
327 views

If you focus in on one image, is combining two telescopes really equivalent to a larger mirror?

Have a look at this example: In addition, the Keck I and Keck II telescopes can work together as the Keck Interferometer. The 85-metre (279 ft) separation between the two telescopes gives them the ...
3
votes
1answer
286 views

Error analysis of flux from telescope-CCD setup (photometric calibration)

I am doing photometric calibration of a telescope and am trying to work out the errors on the flux that I measure. I have attempted to work out the errors due to the process of removing bias, dark ...
6
votes
1answer
184 views

What sort of equipment would I need to take a photo like this?

I'm interested in doing some astrophotography and I'm looking into the equipment needed to get a photo like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cscunha1984/6619321531/in/faves-heyvian/ I'm not looking ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

How to correct flares and sharply focus on my telescope when viewing planets.

A month or two ago I purchased a “Skywatcher Explorer 130P Newtonian Reflector” telescope - which so far is brilliant when looking at the Moon, esp. using a neutral density filter. However, when ...
4
votes
2answers
498 views

How to adjust feather touch focuser for collimation?

I have a Starlight Instruments feather touch focuser for my Dobsonian telescope. While trying to collimate the secondary mirror with the focus all the way in, I noticed that my Howie Glatter laser ...
11
votes
3answers
848 views

Why is this radio telescope's reflector spherical and not parabolic?

This is the Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Its reflector is spherical, measuring 1,001 ft. in diameter. It is considered the most sensitive radio telescope on Earth, but the fact that ...
6
votes
4answers
87 views

Does the current light pollution set a fundamental limit for the range of Earth-based telescopes?

As far as I know, all deep-sky pictures are captured with the Hubble Space Telescope. If there would be no atmospheric distortion, could we make deeper pictures in the optical spectrum with ...
4
votes
3answers
821 views

Sky-Watcher Skyhawk 1145P SynScan AZ GOTO

What is the experience using the Sky-Watcher Skyhawk 1145P SynScan AZ GOTO telescope and can it be recommended for a new astronomer? Is it any good?
6
votes
1answer
820 views

What telescope would I need to observe Mars's polar caps?

What telescope refractor aperture size would I need to observe Mars's polar caps? I have a Levenuhk Strike NG 80mm, and I can see red disk of planet but cannot see any details on the surface.
6
votes
3answers
911 views

Is it possible to make a hydrogen-alpha solar scope?

Is the construction of an etalon / Fabry-Pérot interferometer within the reach of amateur telescope makers? Are there any resources pointing to such projects?
4
votes
1answer
26 views

What demonstrations for a five-hour optical and radio astronomy workshop? [closed]

I volunteer at a group that has restored the oldest German radio telescope. We are now at a point where we want to invite interested amateur astronomers and school children to workshops. I'm currently ...
4
votes
4answers
652 views

Can the Hubble telescope bring any star into focus?

Lets say I am talking about a view like this supernova - 13 billions light year away. In short can Hubble bring any star into focus in the entire universe? And if so, to what definition? I also ...
5
votes
1answer
136 views

How to care for a Dobsonian around the ocean?

I live near the ocean where all the metal fasteners on a house quickly rust and am considering getting a large Dobsonian telescope but am concerned about the mirrors. Would keeping the dob inside a ...
5
votes
2answers
87 views

Could many widely separated space telescopes be combined for VLBI on IR/visible wavelengths?

I have read about ground-based Very Long Baseline Interferometry telescope arrays able to achieve huge resolution at IR/visible wavelengths. There are also space-ground VLBI configurations in ...