- May 5th
20:00, ASE, Church Centre, AUC
Dr Stewart McKechnie
Star image appearance in large ground-based astronomical telescopes
The development of 'Kolmogorov theory' in the mid-1960s advanced understanding of how the atmosphere affects star images formed by large ground-based astronomical telescopes. However, its reliance on untested – and now largely discredited – assumptions about atmospheric turbulence led to unduly-pessimistic resolution expectations (≈1.0 arcsecond) and excessively-coarse telescope optical tolerances, the latter eagerly adopted because of the lower-cost implication. 'Kolmogorov' tolerances ultimately proved mistaken but, before the 'mistake' was recognized, twenty-five years had elapsed and an entire generation of underperforming telescopes had been constructed.