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0001 <sect1 id="ai-telescopes">
0002 <sect1info>
0003 <author>
0004 <firstname>Ana-Maria</firstname>
0005 <surname>Constantin</surname>
0006 </author>
0007 </sect1info>
0008 <title>Telescopes</title>
0009 <indexterm>
0010   <primary>Telescopes</primary>
0011 </indexterm>
0012 <para>
0013 Invented in Holland at the beginning of the 17th century, telescopes are the tools used by astronomers
0014 and astrophysicists for their observations. With the development of modern science, telescopes are
0015 nowadays used for observing in all ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum, inside and outside Earth's
0016 atmosphere. Telescopes work by collecting light with a large surface aerie called objective that makes
0017 the incoming light to converge. The final image will be viewed by using an eyepiece.
0018 </para>
0020 <sect2 id="aperture">
0021 <title>Aperture and Focal Ratio</title>
0022 <indexterm><primary>Telescopes</primary>
0023 </indexterm>
0025 <para>
0026 Telescopes are used in order to collect light from celestial objects and to converge it to a point, named the
0027 focal point. They are described by two parameters, <firstterm>aperture</firstterm> and <firstterm>Focal Ratio</firstterm>.
0028 The diameter of the light collecting surface is called the <firstterm>aperture</firstterm> of the telescope &ndash;
0029 the bigger the aperture, the brighter the image. The ratio of the focal length <firstterm>f</firstterm> to the
0030 <firstterm>aperture D</firstterm> of a telescope is defined as the <firstterm>focal ratio</firstterm>. This
0031 describes the light gathering power of a telescope. <quote>Fast</quote> telescopes have smaller focal ratios, as they
0032 obtain brighter images in a smaller exposure time. As the focal ratio gets bigger, the telescope needs
0033 more exposure time in order to obtain a bright image, which is why it is <quote>slower</quote>. The focal ratio is
0034 usually denoted as <quote>f/n</quote>, where n is the ratio of the focal length to the aperture.
0035 </para>
0036 </sect2>
0038 <sect2 id="aberrations">
0039 <title>Aberrations</title>
0040 <indexterm><primary>Telescopes</primary>
0041 </indexterm>
0043 <para>
0044 In order to obtain an image, telescopes use lenses or mirrors. Unfortunately, if we use both of them we obtain
0045 image distortions known as <firstterm>aberrations</firstterm>. Some aberrations are common for both
0046 lenses and mirrors, like <firstterm>astigmatism</firstterm> and <firstterm>curvature of field</firstterm>.
0047 </para>
0049 <para>
0050 <firstterm>Astigmatism</firstterm> appears when different parts of the lens or mirror make the rays of the incoming
0051 light to converge in slightly different locations on the focal plane. When corrected for astigmatism, <firstterm>curvature
0052 of field</firstterm> may appear on the surface of the lens/ mirror, which makes the light to converge on a curve
0053 rather than on a plane.
0054 </para>
0056 <para>
0057 Still, there are also lens specific aberrations and mirror specific aberrations.
0058 </para>
0060 <para>
0061 <firstterm>Chromatic aberration</firstterm> is a feature of telescopes that use lenses to converge the light.
0062 Mainly, the focal length of a lens is wavelength dependent, which means that the focal point of blue light differs
0063 from that of the red light. This results in a blurred image. The effect of chromatic aberration can be
0064 diminished by adding correcting lenses into the system. <firstterm>Spherical</firstterm> aberration may also
0065 be a problem for lenses, resulting from their shape. Spheroid surfaces will not make the incoming light to converge to
0066 a single point, which is why other optical surfaces like paraboloids are preferred. Even by using them
0067 we aren't still out of trouble, as coma aberration appears in this case. It results from the dependence
0068 of the focal length on the angle between the direction of the incoming ray and the optical axis of the
0069 system. Thus, images of points that lie off the optical axis are elongated, rather than being simple
0070 points, as it would be normal.
0071 </para>
0072 </sect2>
0076 <sect2 id="magnification">
0077 <title>Magnification</title>
0078 <indexterm><primary>Telescopes</primary>
0079 </indexterm>
0081 <para>
0082 <firstterm>Magnification</firstterm>, the increase in angular size of an object as viewed in a telescope, is described as the ratio of the focal length of the objective to the
0083 focal length of the eyepiece. So the greater the focal length of the objective, the greater the magnification. If
0084 you want to have a large image then you need a long focal length objective and a short focal length eyepiece.
0085 </para>
0087 <para>
0088 As an example, if you have a 500 mm objective and a 25 mm eyepiece the resulting magnification will be
0089 500 / 25, which is 20, or 20X.
0090 </para>
0091 </sect2>
0093 <sect2 id="field">
0094 <title>Field of View</title>
0095 <indexterm><primary>Telescopes</primary>
0096 </indexterm>
0098 <para>
0099 The field of view is the angle covered on the sky by the telescope.<firstterm>The apparent</firstterm> field of view of a telescope is determined only by the eyepiece. It is a
0100 specific characteristic of it, usually around 52 degrees. In order to find the <firstterm>true field
0101 of view</firstterm> of a telescope, you need to divide the apparent field of view by the magnification. The true
0102 field of view is the actual angle covered on the sky by the telescope.
0103 </para>
0105 <tip>
0106 <para>
0107 &kstars; has a tool to find and display (on the virtual sky) a true field of view called the <guilabel>FOV
0108 Indicator</guilabel>. Launch it by heading under the <menuchoice><guimenu>Settings</guimenu>
0109 <guisubmenu>FOV Symbols</guisubmenu> <guimenuitem>Edit FOV Symbols...</guimenuitem></menuchoice> menu item.
0110 Clicking <guibutton>New...</guibutton> will open a dialog with four different
0111 tabs: <guilabel>Eyepiece</guilabel>, <guilabel>Camera</guilabel>, <guilabel>Binocular</guilabel>
0112 and <guilabel>Radiotelescope</guilabel>. To compute the field of
0113 view, select the tab that applies and enter the specifications of the equipment. Finally,
0114 clicking <guibutton>Compute FOV</guibutton> will calculate and display the field of view immediately below. &kstars;
0115 can now also display this as a shape of that size on the virtual sky. To do so, enter a name for
0116 this particular field of view (such as <userinput>20mm eyepiece</userinput> or <userinput>DSLR with refractor</userinput>)
0117 and select a shape and color to be displayed. For <guilabel>Eyepiece</guilabel>, use <guimenuitem>Circle</guimenuitem> or
0118 <guimenuitem>Semitransparent circle</guimenuitem> as the shape since an eyepiece's field is round. For <guilabel>Camera</guilabel>,
0119 use <guimenuitem>Square</guimenuitem> (which is actually a rectangle) assuming the sensor or film is rectangular or square. When using multiple eyepieces
0120 and/or telescopes, it is good to distinguish them with different colors. Click <guibutton>OK</guibutton> to close the
0121 dialog. To show the shape on the screen, go back under the <menuchoice><guimenu>Settings</guimenu>
0122 <guisubmenu>FOV Symbols</guisubmenu></menuchoice> submenu, then select the new menu item with the name of whatever it was given. To disable it
0123 again, click the menu item again.
0124 </para>
0125 </tip>
0127 </sect2>
0130 <sect2 id="types">
0131 <title>Types of Telescopes</title>
0132 <indexterm><primary>Telescopes</primary>
0133 </indexterm>
0135 <para>
0136 As telescopes are used in observations over the entire electromagnetic spectrum, they are classified in
0137 Optical Telescopes, Ultraviolet, Gamma Ray, X-Ray, Infrared and Radio Telescopes. Each one of them has its
0138 own, well defined role in obtaining a detailed analysis of a celestial object.
0139 </para>
0140 </sect2>
0142 <sect2 id="optical">
0143 <title>Optical Telescopes</title>
0144 <indexterm><primary>Telescopes</primary>
0145 </indexterm>
0147 <para>
0148 Used for observations in the visible field of view, Optical Telescopes are mainly Refractors and
0149 Reflectors, the difference between the two of them being the way of collecting light from a star.
0150 </para>
0152 <para>
0153 <firstterm>Refracting Telescopes</firstterm> use two lenses in order to create an image, a primary or <firstterm>objective lens</firstterm>, which
0154 collects the incoming light, forming an image in the focal plane and the <firstterm>eyepiece</firstterm>, which is acting as a
0155 magnifying glass used for observing the final image. The two lenses are situated at opposite ends of
0156 a moving tube and the distance between the two of them can be adjusted in order to obtain the final
0157 image.
0158 </para>
0160 <para>
0161 The largest refracting telescope in the world is at the <firstterm>Yerkes Observatory</firstterm> in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.
0162 Built in 1897, it has a 1.02-m (40-in) objective and a focal length of 19.36 m.
0163 </para>
0165 <para>
0166 <firstterm>Reflecting Telescopes</firstterm>, on the other side, use mirrors instead of lenses in order to obtain the final
0167 image. By replacing the objective lens with a mirror, we obtain a focal point that lies on the path of the
0168 incoming light. An observer situated at this point could see an image, but he would block part of the
0169 incoming light. The focal point of the principal mirror is called <firstterm>prime focus</firstterm>, and this is also the name of
0170 the first category of reflecting telescopes. Thus, prime focus telescopes use a mirror in order to collect
0171 light from a celestial object and by reflection the image of the object may be observed from the prime
0172 focus of the telescope. Other types of reflecting telescopes are <firstterm>Newtonian</firstterm>, <firstterm>Cassegrain</firstterm> and <firstterm>Coude</firstterm>.
0173 </para>
0175 <para>
0176 <firstterm>The Newtonian</firstterm> one uses an additional flat mirror placed in the vicinity of the prime focus, in the path
0177 of the reflected light. This results in moving the focal point to a different location, on one of the sides of
0178 the telescope, more accessible for observing. Of course, a mirror placed in the path of the reflected light
0179 will also block part of the incoming one, but if the ratio of the surface aeries of the primary mirror to the
0180 second one is big enough, the amount of the blocked incoming light is negligible.
0181 </para>
0183 <para>
0184 <firstterm>The Cassegrain</firstterm> telescope is similar to the Newtonian one but this time the secondary mirror reflects
0185 light to the bottom of the telescope. There is a hole at the center of the primary mirror that lets the
0186 reflected light to go on its way until it converges to the focal point. The secondary mirror needs to be
0187 convex, as it is increasing the focal length of the optical system. The primary mirror of a Cassegrain
0188 Telescope is a paraboloid. By replacing it with a hyperboloid we obtain a Ritchey-Chretien telescope. The
0189 advantage of using a <firstterm>Ritchey-Chretien</firstterm> telescope is that it removes the coma of the classical reflectors.
0190 </para>
0192 <para>
0193 <firstterm>The Coude</firstterm> type consists of more than one mirror that reflects the light to a special room, the Coude
0194 room, which is located below the telescope. The advantages of using a Coude telescope are varied, from
0195 obtaining a long focal length useful in different fields of astronomy and astrophysics, like spectroscopy
0196 to avoiding the usage of a massive instrument. But there are also disadvantages in using a Coude telescope, because
0197 the more mirrors are placed in the system, the less amount of light arrives at the detector. This happens
0198 because by using Aluminum mirrors, only 80 % of the incident light gets reflected.
0199 </para>
0201 <para>
0202 <firstterm>Catadioptrics</firstterm> are types of telescopes that use systems of both lenses and mirrors for making the light
0203 to converge. The most popular catadioptric is the <firstterm>Schmidt-Cassegrain</firstterm> telescope. It has the advantage of
0204 providing a large angle field of view. In order to minimize coma, it uses a primary spheroidal mirror with
0205 a thin correcting lens that removes spherical aberrations. The secondary mirror is placed in the center
0206 of the correcting lens, reflecting light through a hole made in the primary mirror. Not as famous as the
0207 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope but common though is the <firstterm>Maksutov</firstterm> telescope that also uses a correcting
0208 lens with the primary mirror, this time their surfaces being concentric.
0209 </para>
0211 </sect2>
0213 <sect2 id="other">
0214 <title>Observations in Other Wavelengths</title>
0215 <indexterm><primary>Telescopes</primary>
0216 </indexterm>
0218 <para>
0219 For a detailed analysis of the sky, observations are also carried in other regions of the electromagnetic
0220 spectrum. Very popular and efficient are <firstterm>radio telescopes</firstterm>, developed mostly in the
0221 last century. A common problem for both radio and optical telescopes is the need for better resolution. We can
0222 derive the resolution of a telescope by using Rayleigh criterion, that states the resolving power is equal to the
0223 ratio of the incoming wavelength to the diameter of the aperture (times 1.22 for circular apertures).
0224 So for a good resolution we need a diameter as big as possible. The biggest radio telescope in the world
0225 is the Arecibo telescope from Puerto Rico that uses a huge dish of 305 m diameter. In order to solve
0226 the problem for resolutions, astronomers have developed a new technique called interferometry. The
0227 basic principal of interferometry is that by observing the same object with two distinct telescopes we
0228 can obtain a final image by "connecting" the two initial ones. Nowadays, the most efficient observatory
0229 that uses interferometry is the Very Large Array located near Socorro, New Mexico. It uses 27 telescopes
0230 placed in a "Y" shape, with 25 m aperture each. There also exists a technique called Very Long Baseline
0231 Interferometry (VLBI) that allows astronomers to resolve images over the size of continents. The biggest
0232 project of the century in this domain is the building of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), which
0233 will be using 66 telescopes placed in the Atacama desert of northern Chile.
0234 </para>
0235 </sect2>
0237 <sect2 id="space">
0238 <title>Space-Based Observations</title>
0239 <indexterm><primary>Telescopes</primary>
0240 </indexterm>
0242 <para>
0243 Because Earth-based observations are affected by extinction due Earth's atmosphere, observations
0244 carried out in space are more successful. We mention the <firstterm>Hubble Space Telescope (HST)</firstterm> that has a 2.4,
0245 f/24 primary mirror, the smoothest mirror ever constructed. The Hubble Space Telescope is placed on a
0246 low-orbit around Earth and because of the lack of atmosphere it can observe very faint objects.
0247 Another Space Telescope is the <firstterm>James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)</firstterm> which is planned to be launched in 2018.
0248 It will have a 6.5m primary mirror and it will orbit around a gravitation stable point on the Sun-Earth line
0249 known as the Second Lagrange Point (L2). Here the gravitational attractions due to both Sun and Earth
0250 balances the centrifugal force of an object set in motion around the Sun. This point has the special
0251 property that if an object is placed here, it is in equilibrium with respect to the Sun-Earth system.
0252 The second Lagrange Point lies on the line connecting Sun and Earth, on the other side of the Earth. So a
0253 telescope placed here will receive less thermal radiation, which will improve Infrared Observations.
0254 </para>
0255 </sect2>
0256 </sect1>