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Optics Tools Advance in New Forms with Space Exploration

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For scientists and astronomers building the optical components for telescopes, keeping pace with developing technology is presenting new challenges.

HANK HOGAN, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, [email protected]

With a new generation of large telescopes comes new challenges for optics. Some mirrors, for instance, must be large but flexible to perform wavefront correction and make the images as clear as possible. The shape of future optics will be different from that of past telescopes, thanks to significant deviations from spherical curves. This improves performance but can make manufacturing and measurement challenging. These new telescopes also require mass production of precisely manufactured components. The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) being built at the European Southern Observatory...Read full article

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