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19
votes
2answers
7k views

What is the theoretical limit for farthest we can see back in time and distance?

13.2 billion years ago the universe was rather small, having started only half a billion years ago. Today, with the help of Hubble Space Telescope, we are able to capture the light of galaxies emitted ...
10
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
114 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
102 views

Is it possible to build an optical system that increases the perceived surface brightness?

So is it possbile to build a system from lenses and mirrors that can make faint gas nebulas brighter or can be used as nightvision? If you increase the size of the aperture of a telescope it will ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

How to Ray Trace Chief and Marginal Rays in Thin Lens Systems

Looking at the below images, the chief and marginal ray appear to be modeled just fine. But, those lines don't seem to conform to the rules typically used in thin lens ray traces. An example of ...
45
votes
2answers
6k views

Why are gold mirrors yellow?

Why are golden mirrors yellow? Do they add a yellow component to the spectrum or absorb non-yellow components? If they absorb, then why are they used in telescopes being imperfect? If they add a ...
28
votes
6answers
7k views

Why did high quality mirrors use aluminum coatings instead of silver?

I have two questions on mirrors. I’ve read that in the past quality mirrors were coated with silver but that today vacuum evaporated coatings of aluminum are the accepted standard. When I look at ...
26
votes
3answers
3k views

How do we stabilise satellites so precisely?

Look at the Hubble Ultra Deep Field photo. The stars in it are on the order of 1 arcsecond across. To an order of magnitude, this is $10^{-6}$ radians in a $10\text m$ telescope which was held steady ...
23
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
57 views

Using wormholes to see out of the visible universe

As is commonly known, using our telescopes, we can only see so much of the universe because of its faster than light expansion. However, although under normal circumstances it is impossible to see ...
7
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
1k 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?
6
votes
2answers
297 views

What's the best way to start out with astrophotography on a tight budget?

I'm new to astronomy and I don't have a great deal of cash to spend. I currently have a 3" reflector telescope which I've had great fun with. I also have a Pentax DSLR which I've been using to take ...
4
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
408 views

Future space-based telescope array

Radio-telescopes (e.g. the Very Large Array (VLA)) can simulate one gigantic dish by using separate smaller dishes. Q: Could such an array of optical telescopes potentially see an exoplanet at say 20 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Novice interested in buying a used telescope. What questions should I ask? [closed]

I've noticed quite a few decent telescopes for great prices on craigslist, but I am a complete novice and don't know the first thing about them. I thought I would be able to pick up what I needed from ...
3
votes
3answers
210 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
675 views

Is there a way to photograph the very edge of black hole?

According to Professor Stephen Hawking, black holes emit radiation, Hawking radiation. The bigger the black hole, the fainter the radiation. That means, I personally believe, if we built large enough ...