Telescopes With Liquid Mirrors Go Mainstream
Liquid mirror telescopes have been in limited use for two decades, but only now are they finally seeing the beginnings of wider acceptance in the astronomical community.
(The Large Zenith Telescope's 6-meter liquid mercury mirror)
The largest, the 6-meter Large Zenith Telescope (LZT) operated by the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, stands on a hilltop in a research forest some 40 miles east of the city.
“At the LZT, our ability to do astronomy is limited by weather and sky conditions,” said Paul Hickson, an astronomer at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and the LZT’s project director.
As a result, the project focuses on atmospheric measurements that support advanced optics testing on planned conventional world-class, ground-based telescopes.
Unlike large glass mirrors which are subject to the vagaries of humidity, thermal dynamics and constant deformation from gravity itself, liquid mercury — which remains molten at room temperature — can reflect as much as 75 percent of incoming starlight with little of the fuss associated with large conventional mirrors.
However, liquid mirrors must rotate. When rotating, the forces of nature keep the thin layer of liquid mercury in the shape of a parabola. That’s the shape needed for the liquid mirror to be able to collect and focus incoming starlight.
And the rotation has to be both continuous and at a constant speed, which for the LZT is 8.5 revolutions per minute. If the mirror stops rotating for even a fraction of a second, it loses its parabolic shape, says Ermanno Borra, an astrophysicist at Quebec’s Laval University and a longtime advocate for liquid mirror technology.
Although Isaac Newton was the first to note that the free surface of a rotating liquid forms a curve that could be used to concentrate light for a telescope, science fiction writers brought it to readers attention over the years. During the Golden Age of science fiction, Raymond Z. Gallun describes a liquid mirror telescope on Mars in his 1934 story Old Faithful.
Via Forbes; thanks to Winchell Chung of Project Rho for the tip on this story.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/21/2013)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Project Soli Radar Gesture Chip Now FCC Approved
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.
Implosion Fabrication Shrinks 3D Objects To Nanoscale
'Carter had watched miniaturization a hundred times...' - Isaac Asimov, 1965.
ODYSSEUS Solar-Powered Stratospheric Plane Flies Forever
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...' - EB White, 1950.
Phil Nuyttnn's City Under The Sea
''Under the lower roof there was no water, but a clear and luminous atmosphere...' - Andre Laurie, 1895.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Unfurl The Future! Huawei Mate X versus Galaxy Fold
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently from the top of the unit and immediately grew rigid.'
Amazon Echo And Google Home Should Have Morality Software
'The Dwoskin Morality Rating-Computer could 'spot the slightest tendency to deviation' from the social norm...'
China Building Robot Wives
'Want a life-companion, a pleasant one?'
China Social Credit System Like State-Run Whuffie
'At least there was no mandatory Whuffie check on the monorail platform...'
Project Soli Radar Gesture Chip Now FCC Approved
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'
Stan, Robot Valet, Will Drag Your Car Away
'He activated the grapple tracks. '
Jibo Home Robot Says Goodbye, Is Killswitched
'It resembles an oyster....'
Johns Hopkins Says Asteroid Deflection Will Be Difficult
'This obelisk is one huge deflector mechanism...'
Fabric Automatically Cools Or Insulates Based On Environment
'...a high-efficiency filter and heat-exchange system.'
Deepfakes From OpenAI GPT-2 Algorithm
'How can you compete with an IBM heavy-duty logomatic analogue?'
John Deere Self-Driving Tractor
'The huge plow... seemed to shake itself - and began to move back southward.'
North Focals Smart Glasses Provide Augmented Reality In Style
'The world ... is drenched in unfamiliar information all the way to the horizon.'
Tesla Driver Caught Napping Behind The Wheel
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'
Hayabusa 2 To Begin Asteroid Mining
'We must dig down, and then doubtless we shall find the metal.'
Ionocraft Drone Powered By Electrohydrodynamic Thrust
'He saw one hiss by him as he rounded the corner, trailing a short whip antenna...'
Purdue Pharma Ready To Profit From OxyContin Use Or Addiction Recovery
'It may be organic damage. It may be permanent. Time'll tell, and only after you are off Substance D for a long while.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories