PSU: New Telescope Attachment Allows Ground-Based Exoplanet Observations

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PSU: New Telescope Attachment Allows Ground-Based Exoplanet Observations

Postby bystander » Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:50 pm

New Telescope Attachment Allows Ground-Based Observations of New Worlds
Eberly College of Science | Penn State University | 2017 Oct 05

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A new, low-cost attachment to telescopes allows previously unachievable precision in ground-based observations of exoplanets -- planets beyond our solar system. With the new attachment, ground-based telescopes can produce measurements of light intensity that rival the highest quality photometric observations from space. Penn State astronomers, in close collaboration with the nanofabrication labs at RPC Photonics in Rochester, New York, created custom “beam-shaping” diffusers -- carefully structured micro-optic devices that spread incoming light across an image -- that are capable of minimizing distortions from the Earth’s atmosphere that can reduce the precision of ground-based observations. ...

Diffusers are small pieces of glass that can be easily adapted to mount onto a variety of telescopes. Because of their low cost and adaptability, Stefansson believes that diffuser-assisted photometry will allow astronomers to make the most of the information from TESS, confirming new planet candidates from the ground. ...

Toward Space-like Photometric Precision from the Ground with Beam-shaping Diffusers - Gudmundur Stefansson et al
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