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Stargazing Telescope idea

  1. Jan 15, 2004 #1
    Some may be aware that 10 years ago or so, Texas Instruments began manufacturing a display device using nano-technology. It consists of a two dimensional array of mirrors. Each mirror can be actuated to lie at a different angle. It is strictly a binary device; a mirror is at one or the other position. It is now utilized in high-resolution monitors by using a bright lamp to illuminate the mirrors under digital control, with the reflection shown on a screen.

    If a similar device were constructed having an analog drive to the mirrors, it could form the basis for a reflecting telescope. Would it not be possible to use 10s of thousands of such devices to provide a correcting telescope similar to the Kleck telescope?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 16, 2004 #2


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    The "nano-technology" isn't "nano" (small) enough to be accurate to lengths of 0.1 to 0.05 of the wavelength of green light. What they are doing instead is using "adaptive optics" with dozens or hundreds of actuators adjusting the parabola (or hyperbola) shape of mirrors up to several hundred times per second to correct for atmospheric disturbances, changes in temperartue and weight-change in the distribution of the huge mirrors as they move. Of course, this is done by (1) computers or (2) a very small man with very fast reflexes and a joystick.....

    The latest kick is to leave the primary mirror(s) alone and apply the adaptive optics to the much-smaller secondary (and additional) mirrors. Easier to do on a smaller area and with fewer actuators.
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