Flutterby™! : OWL be Damned!

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OWL be Damned!

2003-05-01 15:08:13.728819+00 by petronius 2 comments

The consortium of European nations that operate the European Southern Observatory in the Chilean Andes is working on the Overwhelmingly Large Telescope or OWL. This is a cluster of adaptive, linked mirrors that will create the equivalent of a 100 meter mirror! Interestingly enough, the entire structure will be slid out of its dome to operate in the open air. To give you an idea of the engineering feat in running this thing, moving and aiming the structure involves manipulating a weight 30% greater than an Aegis-type naval cruiser! Too, too cool!

[ related topics: Cool Science Astronomy ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2003-05-01 20:43:42.324755+00 by: Dan Lyke

Dang. It'll be cool to see what sort of systems they come up with to stabilize 8m mirrors in wind, especially given the issues of the whole interferometry thing. At that scale, the effects of atmosphere movement also start to become huge.

I know that these designs have the resolving power of an "n" meter mirror, but isn't the brightness of the scope still based on how much glass you're collecting from? So it'll have great resolution, but probably end up dimmer than some of the big monolithic mirrors.

#Comment made: 2003-05-02 16:56:47.004714+00 by: petronius

I suspect that the wind issue is one reason they are set up where thay are. This particular stretch of the Andes is peculiarly dry and windless, making for particularly pellucid air.