Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
0Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
SkyAndTelescope_1997_03

SkyAndTelescope_1997_03

Ratings: (0)|Views: 9|Likes:
Published by robson_hahn

More info:

Published by: robson_hahn on Oct 31, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

10/31/2012

pdf

text

original

 
Cardboard Double-Star Interferometer 
G
LIMPSING DETAILS at the ex-tremelimit of a telescope’s reso-lution has always held great fas-cination for astronomers.But the clearest possible eyepiece view or direct image isnot the only means to this end.The pow-erful technique of 
o
p
 p 
t
i
c
a
l
 
i
n
t
e
r
f
f  
e
r
o
m
e
t
r
y
 y 
has a long history and a very promisingfuture,as explained by Daniel Fischer (
S
&
T
:
 November 1996,page 36).In the professional arena,a number of optical interferometers have begun ob-servations or are being built.But whatdoes this mean for the backyard observ-er? Must we be bystanders,awed by thesophistication and expense of these in-struments? Can amateurs make observa-tions of this type?While browsing through the Frenchclassic
L
u
n
e
t
t
e
s
 
e
t
 
T
é
é 
l
e
s
c
o
p
 p 
e
s
 by AndréDanjon and André Couder (Paris,1935),I learned about an interference microm-eter that was used more than a centuryago to measure the separations of veryclose binary stars and the diameters of Jupiter’s satellites.Later innovations bythe physicist A.A.Michelson led to thestellar interferometer that was mountedon the 100-inch Mount Wilson reflector and used in 1920 for the first true meas-urements of star diameters.Why not build,or rather improvise,asimilar device and try it out on my 8-inchSchmidt-Cassegrain? I am happy to re- port that my efforts in this direction werea success.To say the least,the experimenthas been quite informative.BACKGROUNDThis type of micrometer works on the principle of interference of light waves.When a remote point source is viewedthrough a telescope,the image consistsof the well-known Airy disk and a fewsurrounding diffraction rings of light.When two adjacent point sources areviewed,two such patterns overlap. Now,suppose you mask the objectiveexcept for two small openings on either side of center.They can be circular holes, but rectangular slits are better becausethey admit more light.When the tele-scope is aimed at just one point source,the two openings will produce a linear streak of alternating bright and dark knots (fringes).If you look at two close point sources
March 1997
Sky & Telescope91
Telescope Making
Edited by Roger W. Sinnott
Swiss amateur Andreas Maurer has effectively doubled the resolving power of his 8-inch Celestron telescope for certain bright bina-ry stars. The cardboard mask and sliding screen transform the telescope into an optical interferometer.As he explains in this arti-cle, both the slit spacing and mask orientation enter into the observations. The arrows are used to measure the slit spacing. Themask is carried by a collar (hidden here) that controls the mask orientation. The author supplied both photographs.
A
A
l
m
o
s
t
 
a
n
y
 y 
 
t
e
l
e
s
c
o
p
 p 
e
 
c
a
n
 
b
e
 
u
s
e
d
 
t
o
 
t
r
y
 y 
 
o
u
t
 
t
h
i
s
t
e
c
h
n
i
q
u
e
.
.
N
o
 
a
c
c
u
r
a
t
e
g
 g 
u
i
d
i
n
g
 g 
 
i
s
 
n
e
e
d
e
d
.
.
©1997 Sky Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.
 
with this mask,a more complex patternis formed.Its structure depends on thesources’ angular separation as well as the physicalspacing between the two slits.Perhaps at first just a normal fringe pat-tern is seen.But if the slits have a cer-tain orientation and spacing relative tothe double point source,the maxima of one fringe pattern will be superimposedon the minima of the other,and viceversa.The fringes will disappear moreor less completely!One requirement is that the line join-ing the slits be roughly parallel to that joining the two stars.In astronomicalterms,the position angle projected onthe sky,measured counterclockwise fromnorth,should be about the same for thedouble star and the slits.Another require-ment,and a rather limiting one,is that thetwo stars be nearly alike in brightness.When the fringes disappear,the twinsources’ angular separation,
s
,
,
expressedin radians,is given by the formula
s
=
λ 
/(2
d
),where
λ 
is the wavelength of the lightand
d
is the spacing of the slits,measured between their centers.The yellow-greenlight towhich the eye is most sensitivehas a wavelength of about 5500 ang-stroms,or 0.00055 millimeter.When
s
isexpressed in arcseconds and
d
in mm,the formula simplifies to
s
= 56.72/
d
and is ready to use for measuring close binary stars.CONSTRUCTION TIPSI decided to make the rectangular slits25 mm wide and 90 mm high.Arrangedon a screen in front of my telescope’s200-mm corrector plate,the maximum possible distance between slit centers isabout 165 mm.This means I can meas-ure angles as small as 0.35 arcsecond.Atthe other extreme,the closest practicalslit spacing is about 50 mm before thesecondary-mirror obstruction interferes.It follows that I can make the fringesdisappear for stars up to 1.1 arcsecondsapart.consists of four pieces of cardboard,hinged together with tape like a foldingdoor.I also attached two linear scales(photocopies of a ruler).Arrows alignedwith the center of each slit help me keepthe slits equidistant from the center andmeasure their exact spacing.At first I tried the interference mi-crometer on an artificial double star of the type I described in this departmentseveral years ago (
S
&
T
:
September 1991, page 311).Such testing is recommendedand easy,because the position angle isknown and the separation is easilychanged.Interestingly,while Daweslim-it for double stars seen with an 8-inchtelescope is 0.57 arcsecond,the interfer-ence micrometer measures separationsas small as 0.35 arcsecond.When you are using this device on areal double star,the goal is to determinethe position angle as well as the separa-tion.I found it best to start with a rea-sonably small slit distance and rotate themask in 30°increments of position anglefrom to 15.It is not necessary tocontinue beyond 150°because the 180°configuration is the same as 0°.In other words,with this device the position anglehas a 18ambiguity.But that is trueanyway in double-star work when thecomponents have the same brightnessand color.As soon as the fringes become lesssharp and distinct it is time to fine-tunethe adjustments.Increase the slit distancelittle by little until the fringes disappear or show the least possible contrast.Atthis point the position angle and separa-tion can be measured.If you overshootthe optimum spacing the fringes come
Sky & Telescope
March 1997
92
BRIGHT BINARY STARSStarRight AscensionDeclinationMagnitudesPosition AngleSeparation
γ 
Cen12
h
41.5
m
 –48°58'2.92.9341.12"
ε
Equ20
h
59.1
m
+4°18'6.06.3284°0.88"
ζ
Boo14
h
41.1
m
+13°44'4.54.6301°0.85"
η
CrB15
h
23.2
m
+30°17'5.65.952°0.85"R 656
h
29.8
m
 –50°14'6.06.1260.79"
ζ
Cnc AB8
h
12.2
m
+17°39'5.66.0104°0.75"
Σ
217317
h
30.4
m
 –1°04'6.06.1320.75"*
γ 
Lup15
h
35.1
m
 –41°10'3.53.6270.68"
η
Oph17
h
10.4
m
 –143'3.03.5230.58"
ζ
Sgr19
h
02.6
m
 –29°53'3.23.4240.57"
λ 
Cas0
h
31.8
m
+54°31'5.55.8190°0.56"72Peg23
h
34.0
m
+31°20'5.75.895°0.53"
α
Com13
h
10.0
m
+17°32'5.05.112°0.28"*
φ
UMa9
h
52.1
m
+54°04'5.35.4251°0.25"
ξ
Sco16
h
04.4
m
 –122'4.85.1230.20"
These close, bright binary stars are well suited for interferometric or resolution tests with 6- to 12-inch tele-scopes. Right ascensions and declinations are for equinox 2000.0, but position angles and separations havebeen calculated for mid-1997 by Roger W. Sinnott from the orbital elements in
Sky Catalogue 2000.0,
Vol. 2.Most separations change slowly, but the two asterisked values actually shrink by 0.1 arcsecond between the be-ginning and end of the year.
CB A
NSEW
C AB
Maurer’s most interest-ing target was the well-known triple star, ZetaCancri, barely resolvedwith an 8-inch telescopein very good seeing.After orienting the mask and adjusting the slitspacing to cancel thefringes of the close ABpair, he could still seethe full-blown fringepattern of the C compo-nent, effectively a sin-gle star. (C itself doeshappen to be an “astro-metric binary,” withcomponents too closeto resolve in any tele-scope.)
W
h
i
l
e
 
D
a
w
e
s
’ 
 
l
i
m
i
t
 
f
f  
o
r
 
a
n
8
-
i
n
c
h
 
t
e
l
e
s
c
o
p
 p 
e
 
i
s
 
0
.
.
5
7
"
,
,
m
y
 y 
d
e
v
i
c
e
 
m
e
a
s
u
r
e
s
 
s
t
a
r
s
a
s
 
c
l
o
s
e
 
a
s
 
0
.
.
3
5
"
.
.
My micrometer is made of 2-mm-thick cardboard,a knife and glue being theonly tools needed.The main frame has alarge cutout to admit light and a collar on the back to keep it centered on thetelescope and allow rotation.To theframe I glued guides for a screen that
©1997 Sky Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->