According to the researchers from The University of Colorado Boulder, their new space telescope Aragoscope could be better than NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and would be capable of capturing 1,000 times sharper images than Hubble.
Aragoscope is named in the honor of French scientist Francois Arago, who was the first man to ever detect diffracted light waves around a disk. The Aragoscope would consist of an orbiting space telescope and an opaque disk in front of it that could be up to one-half mile across.
Anthony Harness, student at The University of Colorado Boulder and one of the team member behind the telescope, said, “Traditionally, space telescopes have essentially been monolithic pieces of glass like the Hubble Space Telescope, but the heavier the space telescope, the more expensive the cost of the launch.”
The researchers behind the instrument stated that diffracted light waves from a target star or other type of object would bend around the edge of the disk, converging in a central location. The light would then be sent to the telescope in order to provide extremely high-resolution photographs of the targeted space bodies.
The team at The University of Colorado Boulder claims that Aragoscope could allow scientists to image space objects like black hole ‘event horizons’ and plasma swaps between stars. Surprisingly it could also be pointed at Earth, where its ability to image rabbit-sized objects could help find campers lost in the mountains.
Professor Webster Cash, the team leader of the project, and his colleagues have stated that they have informed NASA on the progress of the novel telescope system last week. The Aragoscope was one of 12 proposed projects that have been granted Phase One funding by NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concept (NIAC) program last June. In April, six of those 12 projects will be awarded a two-year, $500,000 award as part of Phase Two funding.
The team now plans to conduct additional tests on the Aragoscope concept using a one-meter disk placed several meters from a telescope, and a light source that would be fixed between five and 10 meters behind the disk.