Each telescope will point at Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, and measure every radio wave coming from its direction. Linking together observatories spread across such a huge area and combining their observations to filter out extra light will effectively create a powerful “virtual telescope” almost the size of Earth.
Source: Earth-sized telescope set to snap first picture of a black hole | New Scientist
As other telescopes are added to the network in coming decades, observations of the black holes will become even more precise, and should provide fundamental insights into the workings of our universe.
If JWST works as expected, it’s carrying enough fuel on-board that it should operate from 2018 through 2028, and although it’s never been done, the potential exists for a robotic (or crewed, if the technology gets developed by then) re-fueling mission to L2, which could increase the telescope’s lifetime by another decade. Just as Hubble’s been in operation for 25 years and counting, JWST could give us a generation of revolutionary science if things work out as well as they could. It’s the future of astronomy, and after more than a decade of hard work, it’s almost time to come to fruition. The future of space telescopes is almost here!
Source: The Future Of Astronomy: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope – Forbes
The Aragoscope is named after French scientist Francois Arago who first noticed how a disk diffracted light waves. The principle is based on using a large disk as a diffraction lens, which bends light from distant objects around the edge of the disk and focuses it like a conventional refraction lens. The phenomenon isn’t very pronounced on the small scale, but if the telescope is extremely large, it not only becomes practical, but also extremely powerful.
via Lensless space telescope could be 1,000 times stronger than Hubble.
The plan calls for a satellite to be sent out several tens of thousands of miles from Earth. The satellite will unfold a huge, flower-shaped metal shade that will literally block the light of some far-out star to the point where a space telescope, which will directly communicate with Starshade, will be able to image whatever planets are orbiting it directly.
via NASA’s Plan to Block Light From Distant Stars to Find ‘Earth 2.0’ | Motherboard.
“Hubble is the size of a school bus,” Mountain said. “JWST is the size of a tennis court.”
JWST’s mirrors are so flat that if you stretch them all out across the United States, “the largest bump would be no bigger than two inches. That’s how smooth these mirrors are,” Mountain added.
Via Mirrors Finished for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope | Space.com.
They have 2.4-meter (7.9 feet) mirrors, just like the Hubble. They also have an additional feature that the civilian space telescopes lack: A maneuverable secondary mirror that makes it possible to obtain more focused images. These telescopes will have 100 times the field of view of the Hubble, according to David Spergel, a Princeton astrophysicist and co-chair of the National Academies advisory panel on astronomy and astrophysics.
The surprise announcement Monday is a reminder that NASA isn’t the only space enterprise in the government — and isn’t even the best funded.
via NASA gets two military spy telescopes for astronomy – The Washington Post.
The process that links separate telescopes together is known as interferometry.
In this mode, the VLT becomes the biggest ground-based optical telescope on earth.
Besides creating a gigantic virtual mirror, interferometry also greatly improves the telescope’s spatial resolution and zooming capabilities.
via BBC News – Four telescope link-up creates world’s largest mirror.