Thoughts, Ideas, and Whatever Jumps into my Head

This page is pretty much where I'm going to stash my project ideas for what I'd like to do in the lab. I started it somewhat in my journal, but just to make things simpler and easier, I figured separate page would be best.


1. Modeling Telescopes

What would I be doing: using the ray tracing program (BEAM TWO) to create models, possibly building my own smaller version baced off of what was found in the ray program. Dr. Noe and I discussed using the pig hologram mirrors and building something out of that. Within that, we could incorporate studies on eyepieces and various parts of the telescope. I have a few at home that I could bring up.

2. Resolution

What I would be doing: using diffraction gratings to study the properties of resolution and relating that back to astronomy. How does one get two images to separate and become perfectly visible? For example, resolution becomes a problem with binary stars because they are so close together.

Adaptive Optics

I suppose resolution could probably fit under here as well, but I'll just leave it in the other section for now. Here, we tossed around the idea of wavefront analysis and how modern telescopes correct interference from the atmosphere. I think it'd really be cool to see how it corrects it exactly ( we may need some mirrors or lenses for that ) and maybe replicate it in the lab.

What we would need: A camera to record the images that are found, a laser, some sort of interference "creator", ... I think I should look more into this for materials.

Here are a couple links that might be useful:

Caltech Adaptive Optics

Center for Adaptive Optics

Some Good powerpoints from UC Santa Cruz

Shack Hartmann Sensor Paper

Imaging Using Ground Based Adaptive Optics

Animation for Adaptive Optics from Gemini Observatory

Well, looks like we've settled on this one for my topic. I need to figure out how to get a Shack Hartmann sensor working, and these links that are up are the sites that I'm going to be using for research and ideas.

Light Echoes!

I found out something really cool in Astronomy this morning. We all know that sound echoes, but I had no idea that light did as well! When you think about the physics behind it, it makes sense - light is a wave like sound, therefore it should have similar properties. We didn't go too much into it in class, but basically astronomers take pictures of supernovae and the light produced by them, and by looking at the echoes or reflections of the light sent toward us they can tell how bright the supernovae was. They've even done it for supernovae that occured 400-500 years ago!

Light Echoes Background Information

National Geographic Article

Shannon Hicks
February 2009
Laser Teaching Center