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Proceedings Paper

GravityCam: higher resolution visible wide-field imaging
Author(s): Jesper Skottfelt; Craig MacKay; Colin Snodgrass; Martin Dominik; Uffe G. Jørgensen
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Paper Abstract

The limits to the angular resolution has, during the latest 70 years, been obtainable from the ground only through extremely expensive adaptive optics facilities at large telescopes, and covering extremely small spatial areas per exposure. Atmospheric turbulence therefore limits image quality to typically 1 arcsec in practice. We have developed a new concept of ground-based imaging instrument called GravityCam capable of delivering significantly sharper images from the ground than is normally possible without adaptive optics. The acquisition of visible images at high speed without significant noise penalty has been made possible by advances in optical and near IR imaging technologies. Images recorded at high speed can be aligned before combination and can yield a 3-5 fold improvement in image resolution, or be used separately for high-cadence photometry. Very wide survey fields are possible with widefield telescope optics. GravityCam is proposed to be installed at the 3.6m New Technology Telescope (NTT) at the ESO La Silla Observatory in Chile, where it will greatly accelerate the rate of detection of Earth sized planets by gravitational microlensing. GravityCam will also improve substantially the quality of weak shear studies of dark matter distribution in distant clusters of galaxies and provide a vast dataset for asteroseismology studies. In addition, GravityCam promises to generate a unique data set that will help us understand of the population of the Kuiper belt and possibly the Oort cloud.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 July 2018
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 10702, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII, 107025O (20 July 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2309930
Show Author Affiliations
Jesper Skottfelt, The Open Univ. (United Kingdom)
Craig MacKay, Institute of Astronomy, Univ. of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
Colin Snodgrass, The Open Univ. (United Kingdom)
Martin Dominik, Univ. of St. Andrews (United Kingdom)
Uffe G. Jørgensen, Univ. of Copenhagen (Denmark)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10702:
Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII
Christopher J. Evans; Luc Simard; Hideki Takami, Editor(s)

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