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Radical Antarctic telescope could outdo Hubble

09/16/2004 12:00AM

Radical Antarctic telescope could outdo Hubble

A novel Antarctic telescope with 16-m diameter mirrors would far outperform the Hubble Space Telescope, and could be built at a tiny fraction of its cost, says a scientist from the Anglo-Australian Observatory in Sydney.


Comments:

  • starbux [Malcolm Garris]
  • 09/16/2004 06:44PM
Wouldn't the primary mirror, permanently mounted on its side, eventually sag enough by its own weight to distort the figure?<br><br>On the other hand cool-down may or may not be a problem.

  • Billbam [Bill Bambrick]
  • 09/17/2004 05:49AM
The news article declares this site was vetted using an 85mm telescope. How can claims of Hubble class resolution be made from test data derived from such a small telescope?

Unless I'm missing something I wonder how anything but the southern hemisphere of the sky would be observable by this scope. Might I also assume that the 100 plus mph winds in Antartica won't affect the stability of a 100 meter diameter (is this for real?) mirror.<br><br>Marv

  • vsvenson [van svenson]
  • 09/19/2004 07:08PM
This is a pretty novel idea, as far as I know. It's basically a design for the largest, and longest focal length, reflector. That secondary mirror can be yards, of not a quarter mile away from the primary. <br><br>I would assume that someone has tried to build a telescope like this on a smaller scale. Does anyone know of any models of this design? Perhaps someone's built a 2 meter version in a warmer climate?<br><br>I did raise an eyebrow at a "nearly flat" reflector? My first thought was that the reflector could have adjustable cells to aid in the collimation of the primary. But then it occured to me: if the reflector moves, any corrected cells will be pointing at a different place on the primary. I believe the reflector would have to be "perfectly" flat. Which would mean the primary would have to be very accurate, and perhaps more expensive than originally intended. I was just thinking about it more, and the reflector would have to be perfectly flat - there would never be an instance where light would be striking the miror at a perpendicular angle (like it does on a normal reflector scope). As this steerable reflector points in new directions, the light will always be striking it at different angle. Any curvature would distort that.<br><br>With that said, wouldn't it be just as difficult (read as "expensive") to make an optically flat mirror as a curved mirror?