Supersharp Images from New VLT Adaptive Optics Rival Hubble Images

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by Montu, Jul 19, 2018.

  1. Montu

    Montu [H]ard DCOTM x4

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    The Very Large Telescope array (VLT) can now take images of distant objects with the same sharpness as the Hubble Space Telescope. It's able to do this by using an adaptive optics unit called the GALASCI. This technology filters out almost all of the atmospheric blurring encountered by terrestrial based telescopes. Because of their new capability this will enable astronomers to study areas of the sky that were otherwise understudied due to lack of Hubble telescope time. To top things off the new Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) will utilize this capability when it comes online. I can't wait to see what kind of discoveries come next.


    Adaptive optics is a technique to compensate for the blurring effect of the Earth’s atmosphere, also known as astronomical seeing, which is a big problem faced by all ground-based telescopes. The same turbulence in the atmosphere that causes stars to twinkle to the naked eye results in blurred images of the Universe for large telescopes. Light from stars and galaxies becomes distorted as it passes through our atmosphere, and astronomers must use clever technology to improve image quality artificially.
     
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  2. J3RK

    J3RK [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Very cool. My favorite planet too.
     
  3. c3k

    c3k [H]ard|Gawd

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    Hmm. That image of Neptune in the linked article was worse than I thought... Sure, it’s better than I can see with a backyard scope, but I was expecting a lot more sharpness.
     
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  4. J3RK

    J3RK [H]ardForum Junkie

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    The point is, that it's getting nearly the same clarity as Hubble, only from within our atmosphere. So it's a pretty big step for a ground based telescope. I too wish it was a lot cleaner, but any progress is good. At least they can observe some of the larger atmospheric features of Neptune like the dark spots, light spots, etc. without a probe.

    I'd be interested to see what it can do with a planet that's a bit closer.
     
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  5. Ultima99

    Ultima99 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Screw this piddly crap. Lets design a new Voltron style (or I guess power rangers) massive space telescope!
     
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  6. kju1

    kju1 2[H]4U

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    Now when do we get pics of martian boobies?
     
  7. J3RK

    J3RK [H]ardForum Junkie

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    There were martian boobies... ...but they're all dead now. Time to move on to better planets.
     
  8. J3RK

    J3RK [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Or perhaps Dr. Farnsworth's "Smell-o-scope"?
     
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  9. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    This is one of the reasons we should be looking at a moon base.
    Imaging building a large telescope on the moon.
     
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  10. scojer

    scojer 2[H]4U

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    The slider is a good comparison
    I'm with nutzo though, a telescope on the moon where there is no atmospheric interference would give better clarity.
     
  11. joblo37pam

    joblo37pam 2[H]4U

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    Ask and you will receive
     

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  12. Dead Parrot

    Dead Parrot [H]ard|Gawd

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    Don't exist, Scrat killed all advanced life there.

    This is pretty cool. Could also be used to do preliminary look sees at places and then Hubble or other space based assets could follow up.
     
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  13. katanaD

    katanaD [H]ard|Gawd

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    will be interesting to see it when its applied to the even larger telescopes in progress.
     
  14. DNMock

    DNMock [H]Lite

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    Better than the big bag of nothing the James Webb telescope has provided us for the last 6 years.
     
  15. HeadRusch

    HeadRusch Gawd

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    There are plans to build large array satellites in orbit and also beyond orbit, call them almost there.....
     
  16. DigitalGriffin

    DigitalGriffin [H]ardness Supreme

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    Linear Algebra FTW! (You use linear algebra to figure out how much to adjust each piece of the mirror)

    But there's more than 1 way to skin a cat. The other way is to increase the aperture and increase the amount of area looking at the same object. That way while your overall precision stinks (data points all over the place), your accuracy is high because you are averaging a very very large area. More data points acts like a low pass filter, lowering noise.

    Thats also how they check for new planets. When a planet crosses in front of a star, it's light output drops a very very very tiny amount. Well we don't have sensors that precise (like 64 bits worth of precision) And things like atmospheric distortion can cause reading to fluctuate. So you read the same point over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

    This is called data stacking, and it's the same technique that allows you to form images like this from relatively "cheap" consumer grade telescopes: Images like this are stacked via computer from several thousand frames.

    The best you'll get out of any scope is about 300x's on an excellent viewing night. Everything else will beyond 300x's will be blurry due to atmospheric distortions. But even at 300x's the details are "limited"

    37324720_717321301946208_6207879260724527104_n.jpg
     
  17. J3RK

    J3RK [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Nice! (Greek names rather than those filthy Roman ones. :D ) Also interesting post.
     
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  18. Upgrayedd

    Upgrayedd n00bie

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    What is the reason? To be in sunlight every other 2 weeks at a time? Or is the dusty atmosphere why? The only one that would really be viable is a radio telescope on the far side but it would need relay satellites to communicate.
     
  19. J3RK

    J3RK [H]ardForum Junkie

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    No... Stick a couple of Ionic Breezes up there for dust, use the solar energy for a charge cycle, lay some cable for comms. No problem!


    :p

    Still though, I'd love to see a lunar installation in place. There are some definite issues to work around, but I still think it would be cool. If the Nazis could do it in the 60s, imagine what we could accomplish now. ;)
     
  20. Xrave

    Xrave [H]ardness Supreme

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    Telescope Upgrade Produces Stunningly Clear Views of Space

    "Twinkle, twinkle, little star" is a twisted sort of lullaby for astronomers, because the effect that enchants the casual stargazer blurs images taken by even the most powerful telescopes.
    Sometimes known as "astronomical seeing," the twinkling or blurring is caused by turbulence in Earth's atmosphere, which muddies a telescope's view. Astronomical seeing is why astronomers flock to mountains, which reach into the atmosphere, and why space telescopes are so valuable.

    cDovL3d3dy5zcGFjZS5jb20vaW1hZ2VzL2kvMDAwLzA3Ny84NTMvb3JpZ2luYWwvZXNvMTgyNGEuanBnPzE1MzE4NzExNzY=.jpg
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    Thanks to a new adaptive-optics module, the Vary Large Telescope in Chile has a much sharper view of Neptune.
    Credit: ESO/P. Weilbacher (AIP)

    New photographs released by the European Southern Observatory show how severe the effect can be — and how a technology called adaptive optics can reduce the problem. To compare the different image-quality levels on offer, the photographs all focus on Neptune.

    The images come courtesy of the observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile, which sports a new, adaptive-optics module on one of its telescopes. Adaptive optics produce sharper images by compensating for interference from the atmosphere. To do so, the system tracks a specific star to watch how its light is garbled by the atmosphere. Then it adjusts the viewing system to reverse that blurring effect, producing images that are much less fuzzy.

    cDovL3d3dy5zcGFjZS5jb20vaW1hZ2VzL2kvMDAwLzA3Ny84NTQvb3JpZ2luYWwvZXNvMTgyNGIuanBnPzE1MzE4NzEzNTQ=.jpg
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    The Very Large Telescope's views of Neptune, with and without its new adaptive-optics module, show how significant an improvement the new system represents.
    Credit: ESO/P. Weilbacher (AIP)

    But astronomers don't want to be limited to observing objects located near stars that can be used for this compensation process. So, rather than rely on natural stars, some adaptive-optics systems use lasers to create their own "stars."

    The Very Large Telescope's new system, called Galacsi, runs adaptive optics in just this way, relying on four lasers as "guide stars." The lasers shine bright orange, with each beam stretching about a foot (30 centimeters) across.

    The system watches how those lasers change because of atmospheric turbulence and signals the telescope's bendable mirror to recalibrate in precisely the right manner to negate the turbulence. That process repeats about 1,000 times per second, according to the facility.
    The system eliminates the effect of more than half a mile (900 meters) of atmosphere immediately above the telescope — as if physically boosting the telescope above the most active part of the atmosphere.

    cDovL3d3dy5zcGFjZS5jb20vaW1hZ2VzL2kvMDAwLzA3Ny84NTUvb3JpZ2luYWwvZXNvMTgyNGMuanBnPzE1MzE4NzE0MDk=.jpg
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    The Very Large Telescope's new, adaptive-optics-powered view of Neptune is comparable to that of the Hubble Space Telescope. (The two images don't match because they weren't taken at the same time.)
    Credit: ESO/P. Weilbacher (AIP)/NASA, ESA, and M.H. Wong and J. Tollefson (UC Berkeley)

    The system compensates so effectively for the atmosphere that the test images taken with the system are about as sharp as photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope — which doesn't have to deal with the phenomenon at all. Instead of displaying Neptune as just a purple-tinged blue blur, as the telescope did before its upgrade, the new images show the colored bands of gas that make up Neptune's atmosphere.

    The European Southern Observatory has been making a push on adaptive optics lately and released test images from a second system at the site last week.

    cDovL3d3dy5zcGFjZS5jb20vaW1hZ2VzL2kvMDAwLzA3Ny84NTYvb3JpZ2luYWwvZXNvMTgyNGQuanBnPzE1MzE4NzE0NzI=.jpg
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    The adaptive optics module isn't just meant to help study planets in our solar system — it can also produce sharper images of stars beyond our galaxy, like globular cluster NGC 6388.
    Credit: S. Kammann (LJMU)/ESO

    The new systems are also practice for the organization's next big project, the Extremely Large Telescope, which will apply a similar adaptive-optics system to a much larger telescope. That telescope is currently under construction; scientists hope it will start working in 2024.
     
  21. Krenum

    Krenum [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Mine's the Sun, I like because its like the king of planets...

    40041517?size=476x268&region=us.jpg
     
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  22. Upgrayedd

    Upgrayedd n00bie

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    That's just it though, that is all it would be is "cool". It wouldn't give any benefit over an array of telescopes in orbit, just a bunch of unnecessary challenges.
     
  23. tangoseal

    tangoseal [H]ardness Supreme

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    Wait a minute... that photo of Neptune shows a sphere but Earth is flat.


    Another damned spiracy.... lmao
     
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  24. Chaos Machine

    Chaos Machine Limp Gawd

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    This is why amateur astronomy is such a game of patience. Sometimes it's not even worth it to bring your scope out and sometimes you get lucky and seeing is fantastic for a few minutes. That photo is phenomenal Btw. To the people saying it doesn't look sharp its because Neptune's atmosphere makes it look fuzzy on the edges.
     
  25. RealBeast

    RealBeast Limp Gawd

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    Don't worry, it is flat -- just shaped like a dinner plate. ;)
     
  26. kju1

    kju1 2[H]4U

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  27. J3RK

    J3RK [H]ardForum Junkie

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    You just cant's see the elephants and turtles in the usual visual spectrum is all.
     
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  28. _l_

    _l_ [H]ard|Gawd

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    and soon, the following will be taking snapshots "to Infinity and beyond":

    James Webb Space Telescope

    The James Webb Space Telescope is a space telescope developed in collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency that will be the scientific successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. - Wikipedia

    Launch date: March 30, 2021
    Cost: 10 billion USD (2016)
    Contractor: Arianespace
    Organization: European Space Agency
    Manufacturers: Northrop Grumman, Ball Aerospace & Technologies
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2018
  29. Upgrayedd

    Upgrayedd n00bie

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    Not a replacement though. Hubble is UV and visible light while JWST will be infrared light to see the light that has been redshifted all the way back from the big bang.
     
  30. tangoseal

    tangoseal [H]ardness Supreme

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    Wrong wrong wrong ....

    An Intel Atom has the hashing power to algorithmically resolve, using AES-ni, and SenseMI, and MMX coupled to a Voodoo2 SLI configurator, to the power of Yes in Montana...

    good god man thought for sure you would have known this
     
  31. DigitalGriffin

    DigitalGriffin [H]ardness Supreme

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    What I said was a vast over simplification of the issue.

    I was going to make a huge long post explaining more in detail how everything worked. (Like using arrays of telescopes, raising signal levels, signal processing techniques, and determining vectors of atmospheric distortion during stacking) but this isn't cloudynights.com

    So I'll defer and say , "Yes what I said isn't exactly 100% correct. But I was trying to keep it simple. The proof is in the stacking software."

    May you have good seeing in your future.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2018
  32. tangoseal

    tangoseal [H]ardness Supreme

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    You didn't see I was just messing with you. Everything I typed was just a bunch of non sense lol. Go read it again ha ​
     
  33. _l_

    _l_ [H]ard|Gawd

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    I do believe there well could have been a big bang because "And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light." and that is not referring to visible light because the stars (and therefore our sun as well) were not made at that time, they came after.


    LOL no, you can't tell from those photos if it's a sphere or not