Sonntag, 1. Februar 2009

Physophy: Telescopes - almost a Moore's Law

Moore's law - in short, the exponential growth of IT - is mainly driven by the miniaturization of electronics, down to the nanolevel. This implies that all products with IT are driven down in cost or/and performance. But it affects also material-bound products - a nice example are telescopes for astronomy. The figure from a German astronomy blog (German description and legend)

by Leonard Burtscher shows the increase of the resolution of telescopes:
After thousands of years with a natural resolution of human vision of one or two ninutes of arc, the accessible resolution increases dramatically, in particular in the last 3 decades. The reason is that electronics and IT allow to minimize the relative material efforts with tricks as adaptive and active optics, and to economically build larger telescopes than ever! It is great how IT (an almost material-less technology) can help to build large material devices more efficient and therefore assist in the Golden Age of astronomy!

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