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Proceedings Paper

Optical Synthesis Telescopes
Author(s): G. W. Swenson; C. S. Gardner; R. H. T. Bates
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Paper Abstract

A new type of optical/infrared telescope is suggested, based on a combination of the principles of radio astronomical interferometric image synthesis and computational phase retrieval. Physical configurations, design principles, necessary technical developments, possible modes of operation and important possible uses of the telescope are discussed. The design philosophy is that it should not be necessary to maintain tighter mechanical tolerances than those required conventionally for radio telescopes. Because it is intended to realize milli-arc-second resolution, implying a telescope aperture of the order of 100 m, it is recognized that it is impractical to achieve optical tolerances, so that the adopted design principles should not rely on them. The design goals can be attained by relying on heterodyne detection followed by purely digital processing, thereby permitting useful signal-to-noise ratios to be conveniently obtained by multiplexing parallel channels with the aid of large-scale-integration techniques. Besides offering highly resolved images of many of the more important astrophysical objects, the telescope could be used for imaging certain types of space vehicles. The kind of telescope proposed herein could be usefully constructed either on the surface of the earth or outside the Earth's atmosphere.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 October 1986
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 0643, Infrared, Adaptive, and Synthetic Aperture Optical Systems, (13 October 1986); doi: 10.1117/12.975526
Show Author Affiliations
G. W. Swenson, University of Illinois (United States)
C. S. Gardner, University of Illinois (United States)
R. H. T. Bates, University of Canterbury (New Zealand)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0643:
Infrared, Adaptive, and Synthetic Aperture Optical Systems
Janet S. Fender; R. Barry Johnson; William L. Wolfe, Editor(s)

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