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1 Observing the Universe: Telescopes Astronomy 2020 Lecture 6 Prof. Tom Megeath Today s Lecture: 1. A little more on blackbodies 2. Light, vision, and basic optics 3. Telescopes Properties of Thermal Radiation 1. Hotter objects emit more light at all frequencies per unit area. 2. Hotter objects emit photons with a higher average energy. First: Some more on black bodies. Two Cups - one hot, one cold. Visible Light Infrared 1

2 Visible Light Since neither cup is hot enough to emit in visible light, we see it in reflected light from the Sun or light bulb (both are hot enough to emit in visible). Wien s law: λ (nm) = 2.9x10 6 /T(Kelvin) where 1 nm = 10-9 meters Picture from Nick Strobel s astronomy notes: Infrared Light In this picture, everything is emitting infrared light: the water, the cup, the background. At the same time everything is absorbing infrared light. If everything was at the same temperature, it would emit and absorb the same amount of light, and everything would be the same color (I.e. everything would be the same temperature). Melting Ice Cube Since the hot water is hotter than its surroundings, it is emitting more light (glows more brightly) than it absorbs. It will eventually cool (conservation of energy) Since the cold water is colder than its surrounding, it absorbs more light than it emits. It will eventually warm up. In this infrared picture, the color is the temperature of the blackbody radiation. Cold ice cube radiates less light than surrounding water. Materials that are transparent in visible light, may absorb much infrared radiation (as well as some visible light). For example: Glass, water, air absorbs infrared radiation 2

3 How does your eye form an image? Refraction Refraction is the bending of light when it passes from one substance into another Your eye uses refraction to focus light Example: Refraction at Sunset focusing Light Sun appears distorted at sunset because of how light bends in Earth s atmosphere Refraction can cause parallel light rays to converge to a focus 3

4 Image Formation How do we record images? The focal plane is where light from different directions comes into focus The image behind a single (convex) lens is actually upside-down! Focusing Light Digital cameras detect light with charge-coupled devices (CCDs) A camera focuses light like an eye and captures the image with a detector The CCD detectors in digital cameras are similar to those used in modern telescopes What are the two most important properties of a telescope? 1. Light-collecting area: Telescopes with a larger collecting area can gather a greater amount of light in a shorter time. 2. Angular resolution: Telescopes that are larger are capable of taking images with greater detail. 4

5 Light Collecting Area A telescope s diameter tells us its lightcollecting area: Area = π(diameter/2) 2 The largest telescopes currently in use have a diameter of about 10 meters Angular Resolution is give by: θ = 1.22 λ (meters)/d (meters) Angular Resolution Where θ is the angular resolution of a telescope in radians, λ is the wavelength of light, and D is the diameter of the telescope. In units of arcseconds (a full moon is 1800 arcseconds in diameter) θ(arcseconds) = 2.5 x 10 5 λ/d L = 650 nm or 650 x 10-9 meter (red light) D = 10 meter (biggest telescope) θ = arcsecond which is 30 meter at the distance of the moon Ultimate limit to resolution comes from interference of light waves within a telescope. Larger telescopes are capable of greater resolution because there s less interference However, resolution is often limited by atmospheric turbulence What are the two basic designs of telescopes? Reflecting Telescope Refracting telescope: focuses light with lenses Reflecting telescope: focuses light with mirrors Reflecting telescopes can have much greater diameters Most modern telescopes are reflectors 5

6 Designs for Reflecting Telescopes Mirrors in Reflecting Optical/ Infrared Telescopes Twin Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea in Hawaii Segmented 10-meter mirror of a Keck telescope Imaging Imaging Astronomical detectors can record forms of light our eyes can t see Color is sometimes used to represent different energies of nonvisible light Astronomical detectors generally record only one color of light at a time Several images must be combined to make full-color pictures 6

7 Spectroscopy Spectroscopy Light from only one star enters Diffraction grating breaks light into spectrum A spectrograph separates the different wavelengths of light before they hit the detector Graphing relative brightness of light at each wavelength shows the details in a spectrum Detector records spectrum Timing Timing Example: Transits and Eclipses A light curve represents a series of brightness measurements made over a period of time A transit is when a planet crosses in front of a star The resulting eclipse reduces the star s apparent brightness and tells us planet s radius No orbital tilt: accurate measurement of planet mass If the temperature and radius of the star are known, the radius of the planet can be determined. 7

9 M51 Galaxy Resolved by Submillimeter Array Radio Interferometry Example The Very Large Array Hubble Image (visible light) SMA Image (submillimeter) Gurwell & Butler (2005) Radio map is shown in Orange Calm, High, Dark, Dry Summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii The best observing sites are atop remote mountains Best sites in the world are on Mauna Kea in Hawaii and high mountain tops in the Chilean Andes. Antartica may be the best site for infrared astronomy. Turbulence and Twinkling Turbulence in the air above the telescope distorts the image of the star, causing it to move and change in shape. This blurs the image of a star, and also causes the twinkling of stars to the naked eye. Slide from Claire Max: 9

10 How does adaptive optics help? (cartoon approximation) Measure details of blurring from guide star near the object you want to observe Calculate (on a computer) the shape to apply to deformable mirror to correct blurring Light from both guide star and astronomical object is reflected from deformable mirror; distortions are removed Adaptive Optics Star viewed through turbulent atmophere Same star corrected with adaptive optics. By rapidly changing the shape of a mirror in the telescopes light path, the variations from turbulence can be corrected. Slide from Claire Max: Slide from Claire Max: Telescopes in Space Advantage Number 1 of Space Based Telescopes: Improved Angular Resolution Star viewed with groundbased telescope Same star viewed with Hubble Space Telescope Turbulent air flow in Earth s atmosphere distorts our view, causing stars to appear to twinkle Adaptive optics cannot yet provide a full correction, particularly at visible wavelengths. 10

11 Advantage Number 2 of Space Based Telescopes: Observing Outside The Atmospheric Windows Optical and UV Telescopes Hubble Space Telescope Avoid bluring by atmosphere. Can detect UV radiation which is absorbed by atmosphere. Space is darker than night sky on Earth, thus observations can be more sensitive. Gamma Ray and X-ray Telescopes Infrared Telescopes Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory Chandra X-Ray Observatory X-ray and Gamma ray telescopes also need to be in space focusing X-ray and gamma rays is extremely difficult, normal reflecting mirrors don t work SOFIA Spitzer Infrared telescopes operate like visible-light telescopes but need to be above atmosphere to see all IR wavelengths. Moving to space also reduces the infrared glow from the atmosphere and telescope and greatly increases the sensitivity of the telescope. 11

12 August 25, 2003 Cape Canaveral 4m tall, mass ~ 865 kg The Observatory Solar Panel Telescope Instruments Liquid Helium Satellite Bus To conserve liquid Helium & extend mission lifetime: 1. Warm launch 2. Radiative Cooling 3. Solar orbit Instrumentation IRS Instrument detectors cooled by He to lower detector noises (5 K) Telescope cooled to 20 K by radiating into deep space, and then to 6 K by venting Helium MIPS IRAC 12

13 Spitzer offers improved resolution The Herschel Space Observatory DR21 in Cygnus Messier 51 IRAS Satellite IRAS MSX/ISO Satellites ISO,2MASS Spitzer Space Telescope (2008?) Spitzer Things to know What is a reflecting telescope? When we state the diameter of a telescope, it is the diameter of what part? What are the two most important properties of a telescope? What is the difference between imaging and spectroscopy? What s a radio telescope? What is an interferometer? The relationship between telescope size, wavelength and angular resolution What are the advantages of observing from space? 13

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