What do telescopes mean for astronomy?


visit meteorology It is something special for many amateur astronomers. In a large dome – protected from the wind and bad weather – is a huge telescope that allows you to see the stars. Such as foreman, more precise observatories, astronomers use it to observe the night sky, but they no longer have to look through it.

It works differently in Urania Observatory in Viennawho visited Futurezone. The People’s Observatory It is located in the city center, next to the Danube Canal in Vienna, and therefore offers only limited possibilities to see the night sky. Light pollution in the city is too great to study. These are educational establishments that anyone interested can visit. We have an astronomer there Ruth grützbauch To know the importance of telescopes To talk about today’s research (Here you can find the interview as a video).

Good conditions for looking at the universe

In order for astronomers to be able to actually work with observatories, they must meet a number of requirements. It should be far from cities, for example in the mountains or in the desert. In addition, the place must have a suitable climate with few thunderstorms and low weather turbulence. Therefore, the largest research observatories are located in the desert Chile, in a Hawaii on Mauna Kea and in US state of Arizona. The conditions there are very good.

Unlike a public observatory, where you can still look at yourself through a telescope, a computer does much of the work in research observatories. The classic “look-through” is replaced by data sheets with numbers. “Most of the returns are automated. It means you are not there. You are sitting at the desk, you receive data by e-mail and that’s it, ”explains Grützbauch. together Florian Freestetter you talk about Podcast “The Universe” About the universe and ongoing research. She also manages the project.public spaceInflatable mobile planetarium.

The Very Large Telescope in Chile consists of 4 individual constellations with a height of 8 meters

Monitoring time is expensive

Working with data doesn’t sound as exciting, says Grützbauch, but seeing the data for the first time is as exciting as looking through a telescope on your own. During her time as an astronomer, she worked with Very Large Telescope (VTL) I worked in Chile. “The region there is incredible. Mountains and Atacama Desert – this is the driest region in the world. Nothing grows there, not a piece of grass. It looks like the surface of Mars. “There, you think you are on another planet,” said the astronomer, describing his experience.

Instead of a large telescope, there are 4 individual 8-meter-high telescopes connected to each other. This makes it one of the largest in the world and allows for observations that humans could not make without the help of detectors and computers. Starts adjusting the telescope. There are separate telescope operators for massive systems like the VLT. They point telescopes at the thing to be observed in the sky. The reason is that the observation time with large telescopes is so expensive that one cannot afford to go wrong.

Ruth Grützbauch is an astronomer and presents information about the universe in the podcast “Das Universum”

Telescopes (many) make the invisible visible

If correctly set, observation can begin. “We let the light fall on the detector for a longer period in order to collect more and more light, like with a digital camera,” explains Grützbauch, explaining how it works. Everything that came to Earth by light is visible – and that is too much. “A telescope can make invisible light visible, like a kind of thermal camera. We see wavelengths and colors with these detectors that cannot be seen by the human eye, ”explains Grotzbauch.

This is why telescopes are indispensable to astronomy – even if astronomers like Grützbauch no longer look at them themselves. “We don’t really have any other way to study the universe than in astronomy. For everything outside of our solar system, the telescope is the instrument with which we have acquired our knowledge of the universe. It is for me the only instrument to unravel the mysteries of the universe.

But that also has its limits. On the one hand, there are phenomena such as black matterIt does not emit any light and will therefore be invisible even if it is hung right in front of our nose. The universe is also invisible from earth to infinity. “We have the visible universe and more universes around it, but the light hasn’t had time to reach us, so we can’t see it yet and we have to wait,” says Grützbauch. But the visible universe will be Every second 300,000 km Bigger, because it’s the speed of light – so there will be more and more new objects in the future waiting to be discovered by astronomers.

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