Interferometric imaging in optical astronomy

  • Gerd Weigelt
Part II Astronomical Observations: Methods and Tools
Part of the Lecture Notes in Physics book series (LNP, volume 333)


The atmosphere of the earth restricts the resolution of conventional astronomical imaging to about 1″. Much higher resolution can be obtained by speckle methods. Speckle interferometry, the Knox-Thompson method and the speckle masking method (bispectrum or triple correlation processing) yield diffraction-limited resolution in spite of image degradation by the atmosphere and telescope aberrations. For example, with the ESO 3.6-m telescope a resolution of 0.028″ is attained at a wavelength of 400 nm. The limiting magnitude is about 18. We will outline the theory behind the three methods. High-resolution images and simultaneously the spectrum of each resolution element can be obtained by the objective prism speckle spectroscopy and projection speckle spectroscopy methods. Finally, we will discuss the application of speckle masking to coherent arrays of telescopes. A very interesting example is the 4x8-m ESO VLT, which should yield the fantastic angular resolution of about 2 milli-arcsec.


Point Spread Function Speckle Interferometry Optical Transfer Function Triple Correlation Pupil Plane 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerd Weigelt
    • 1
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für RadioastronomieBonnGermany

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