Astrophysics Group

Cavendish Laboratory

Aperture Synthesis with Light

Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory
Aperture Synthesis with Light

The astronomer’s desire to see things in ever greater detail is thwarted at optical wavelengths by the Earth’s atmosphere: making optical telescopes larger does not provide more detail in the images. Using lessons learnt from radio astronomy we are combining light from 4 small separated telescopes, three of which are shown below, to overcome the atmospheric problems and synthesise pictures with a thousand times finer detail than is visible with existing telescopes. The Cambridge Optical Aperture Synthesis Telescope (COAST) has been developed to meet the very demanding task of imaging the surfaces of individual stars and studying the interaction of close pairs of stars.

The Cambridge Optical Aperture Synthesis Telescope

For more information about our work, follow the links on the left.