Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Large Mercury Telescopes

Paul Hickson
University of British Columbia

Wednesday, February 25, 2004
1:30 PM @ Stirling A

Abstract:

It has recently become possible to make inexpensive parabolic mirrors of excellent optical quality by rotating liquid mercury. Telescopes employing such mirrors are in use for applications ranging from atmospheric and space debris studies to cosmology. The largest of these, a 6-meter telescope located near Vancouver, has just begun operation. Equipped with a drift-scanning CCD, it will scan the sky every clear night to study galaxy and quasar populations and search for distant supernovae. Liquid-mirror telescopes now in the planning stage will employ sophisticated optical tracking systems and adaptive optics to enable them to obtain high-resolution images and spectra. Ultimately, it will be possible to coherently combine the light collected by many mirrors to form the most powerful optical telescope on Earth.

Refreshments will be available after the talk.