Mini-Throughput: Rubin Observatory Edition

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Michael Siegel

Michael Siegel is an astronomer living in Pennsylvania. He is on Twitter, blogs at his own site, and has written a novel.

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9 Responses

  1. Avatar Oscar Gordon
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    says:

    I read about these new telescopes, and think about the setup at the last observatory I visited (Lowell, in Flagstaff, AZ).

    We’ve come a long way, baby.Report

  2. Avatar Slade the Leveller
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    says:

    Since we have the Hubble in orbit where it can operate free of atmospheric and light interference, what is the purpose of building terrestrial observatories? Don’t get me wrong, this is pretty cool, but are we doing it just because we can?Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Slade the Leveller
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      says:

      My bet, cost.

      Rubin probably cost an order of magnitude less to build, and a similar difference in lifetime maintenance costs.

      Should we ever build a space elevator, or develop some kind of exotic engine that can take us to space on the cheap, terrestrial observatories might become a thing of the past, but until then…

      Also, I’m pretty sure that the wide range of telescopes we have allows for some very interesting observations that can be made that a single space borne telescope simply can’t.Report

    • What Oscar said. But I would add that Hubble could not do this kind of thing. First of all, it’s massively oversubscribed. But second, it images a very tiny portion of the sky. The field of view of the Rubin telescope is 3000 times bigger than that of Hubble.Report

      • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to Michael Siegel
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        says:

        Thanks, gents. I learned something today.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Slade the Leveller
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          says:

          I know you can use multiple radio telescopes to improve the ability to observe a given object (Interferometry). I think it works for optical telescopes as well, so the Rubin could team up with other observatories to improve the resolution of, say, a supernova that is underway. Hubble can also join in the fun, but there is a lot of value in having observatories scattered across the world.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Michael Siegel
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        says:

        How long is the waiting list going to be for it once the ELT is fully operational? Which is an insane device. The possibility of exoplanet imaging from a ground-based telescope was a fantasy when I was at an age to think of grinding my own 12″ mirror.Report

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