The Large Binocular Telescope - A New Era in Ground-Based Astronomy and Technological Innovation
- Richard Green, Mount Graham International Observatory
Thursday, March 15, 4:10 PM - Physics and Astronomy Colloquium
Biomedical & Physical Sciences Bldg., Rm. 1415
The Large Binocular Telescope, with its two 8.4-m diameter primary mirrors, is instrumented to achieve angular resolution 3-10x sharper than that of Hubble Space Telescope. Problems uniquely well addressed by this facility include the epoch of reionization and the physical properties of the earliest galaxies, stellar populations in the local Universe and their indicators of the cosmic distance scale, the distribution of stellar mass and multiplicity in star forming regions, and the census of extrasolar planets. These discoveries are enabled by first-of-a-kind systems: adaptive optics with a 0.9-m deformable secondary mirror and pyramid wave front sensor, Fizeau interferometry with an extended field of view at maximum resolution, Rayleigh beacon laser guide stars that allow correction of ground-layer atmospheric turbulence, and complex cryogenic mechanism control for near-infrared multi-object spectroscopy. The efforts of integration and commissioning are just beginning to yield the scientific payoff expected from this 23-m prototype telescope.