Telescopes

How is light from the night sky collected?

Each of our five observatories is equipped with a telescope of the Ritchey-Chretien design whose primary mirror has a diameter of 0.5-metres. While this is smaller than the largest telescopes in operation today, much science can be accomplished with such telescopes as they are dedicated and continuously available to us for monitoring our various targets. The larger the collecting area of a telescope, the more light it can collect in a given time, so the more sensitive are the detections that can be made. To help compensate for the smaller mirror diameter and aid with collecting the faint signals we are looking for, our telescope mirrors have special high reflectivity coatings to reflect up to ~97% of the light. The reflectivity of mirrors without such special coatings is only ~88%. The mirrors of the telescope at our newest observatory (GJW-WA) in Western Australia, were especially coated by Orion Optics UK to have such high reflectance. The telescope itself was supplied by Alluna Optics in Germany and we are delighted with its performance.