October skies were rich with astronomical events – we saw a harvest moon, a partial solar eclipse and the Orionid meteor shower, to name a few – and jaw-dropping images were captured by amateur and professional astronomers around the world. From the humblest homemade telescopes that spark young imaginations and set the course for future careers to very large telescopes supported by multinational consortia, a host of astronomical instruments are feeding our endless fascination with the starry skies.
When it comes to telescopes, size clearly matters, and project names say it all: Look at the Thirty Meter Telescope, scheduled for completion in 2022 in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, or the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) in Chile, with first light targeted for 2024. The E-ELT is expected to be the world’s largest optical and infrared telescope for the foreseeable future.
In this issue, science writer Valerie C. Coffey takes the measure of these titanic telescopes with their astronomical apertures, and gives a glimpse into the broad array of components and instruments that will no doubt change our understanding of all those glittering galaxies we stay up past our bedtimes to observe. Read the feature, “Breaking Ground Now: Next-Gen Giant Telescopes,” beginning on page 36.
Also in this issue:
• “PMD Camera Enhances 3-D Imaging,” by John Gilmore of Hamamatsu Corporation and Dr. Slawomir Piatek of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, on page 40.
• “ ‘Internet of Lights’ Meets Industrial Internet of Things,” by Gerard Harbers of Xicato and Sanjay Manney of Echelon Corp., on page 46.
• “MWIR for Remote Sniffing and Locating of Gases,” by Raf Vandersmissen of sInfraRed and Thomas Zimmermann of TIB Infrared Solutions, on page 50.
• “Understanding Passively Q-Switched Solid-State Lasers,” by Rüdiger Paschotta of RP Photonics Consulting GmbH, on page 55.
• “Microbolometers Move Thermal Imaging into Next-Gen Commercial Uses,” by Cees Draijer of Teledyne Dalsa, on page 58.
Back in September, I mentioned The Beach Boys’ classic “409” and invited readers to send in lyrics for a “car song of the future” with photonics at its heart. Reader K.M.G. Vivekanandam sent in a few stanzas, including this:
Down a winding hill road,
On a rainy night with thunder,
My car speeds away, effortless –
Photonics technology at its best!
If photonic technologies used in automobiles and their manufacture interest you, watch for details of an upcoming Photonics Media webinar with EPIC Director General Carlos Lee. Lee will share results of an EPIC-commissioned report on laser systems used in the auto industry.
Enjoy the issue.