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The Australia Telescope National Facility Colloquium
14:00-16:30 Wed 11 Jun 2003

ATNF Marsfield Lecture Theatre

Prof John W. V. Storey & Dr. Will Saunders

(Head of School of Physics, UNSW & AAO)

What do you get when you cross an OWL with a penguin? & A proposed design for a 25m wide-field telescope at Dome-C - Prof John W. V. Storey & Dr. Will Saunders Colloquium

What do you get when you cross an OWL with a penguin?
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The next generation of Extremely Large Telescopes (ELTs) for
optical/infrared astronomy will require exceptional site conditions.
Structural constraints on proposed telescopes such as OWL (the
Overwhelmingly Large Telescope) demand a site with negligible seismic
activity and exceedingly low wind speeds. Extremely low levels of
high-altitude turbulence and tropospheric wind speed will also be necessary
if good images are to be achieved over reasonable fields of view. Perhaps
surprisingly, Dome C, Antarctica, meets all of the above conditions. It is
guaranteed never to rain there. It is also within 7 flying hours of Sydney,
has exceptional clear sky statistics, and offers an infrared sky background
up to two orders of magnitude darker than temperate sites. Why would anyone
consider building an ELT anywhere else?


A proposed design for a 25m wide-field telescope at Dome-C
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There are various plans for 25 metre-class telescopes, but the optical and
engineering challenges are formidible. A reflective Schmidt-type design
derived from the Chinese LAMOST telescope offers a (relatively) cheap and
straightforward way to achieve a fast (f/2) 25 metre telescope with 0.1"
image quality over 0.5 degree fields, and 0.5" image quality over 2 degree
fields. The product of resolution elements and aperture would be at least
40 times larger than any telescope in existence, and an order of magnitude
larger than LSST (or PANSTARS). Such a telescope would have a dramatic
impact on many areas of astronomy.

Dome-C offers powerful advantages for ground-based astronomy, being cold,
dry and with very stable image quality. In particular, superb image
quality over wide fields is readily achieved. In appears to be ideally
matched to this design.

More information

Contact

Roopesh Ojha
Roopesh.Ojha@csiro.au

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