Magazine article The Futurist

Binocular Telescope Puts Heavens in Focus; Telescope Mimicking Humans' Two-Eyed Vision Cuts Glare from Stars

Magazine article The Futurist

Binocular Telescope Puts Heavens in Focus; Telescope Mimicking Humans' Two-Eyed Vision Cuts Glare from Stars

Article excerpt

Long blinded by the stars, planet-hunting astronomers will soon have a new telescope that gives them a more direct view of planets orbiting stars in other solar systems. The key is the instrument's human-like ability to capture two images of the same target, creating a more detailed single image and canceling out the solar glare obstructing astronomers' view.

The Large Binocular Telescope (LBT), under construction at Mount Graham International Observatory in Arizona, is expected to become the world's most powerful optical telescope when it is fully operational in 2005. The first of two giant mirrors, built at the University of Arizona Mirror Lab, was delivered in fall 2003, and astronomers will see first light (i.e., the first images from the new instrument) in summer 2004. Ground-based observers will ultimately be able to see faint objects with a clarity that is nearly 10 times sharper than images from the Hubble Space Telescope.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Large telescopes have been available to astronomers for many years, but these have focused on radio waves. …

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