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Colloquium of the Department of Physics & Astronomy
09 November 2000

"A New Strategy for Deep Wide-Field High Resolution Optical Imaging"

Institute for Astronomy, UHM

Watanabe Hall, Room 112
3:15 pm - Informal gathering & light refreshments
3:30 pm - Main Speaker


Deep optical imaging surveys are being used to address problems ranging from 'killer asteroids' to the dark matter distribution and the expansion rate of the Universe. Such surveys are limited by solid angle, depth, and by the `atmospheric seeing' which limits the angular resolution. Conventional adaptive optics provides spectacular image quality, but only over a limited field of view around the guide star, since widely separated objects probe independent paths through the atmosphere. Here I shall describe a technique which allows more modest image compensation, but over wide fields of view. The plan is to use an array of small telescopes with image tracking to take out the atmospheric jiggling of the images. Novel features of the approach are the use of an electronic 'rubber focal plane' which allows one to track the image motions at all points in the field, and the combination of guide star motion data from the array of telescopes which is needed to make this work.

This approach would allow one to construct a system with collecting area equivalent to a large single aperture telescope, with a degree-scale field of view, but with images about a factor 3 sharper than for a conventional design.

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