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adaptive optics extinction reddening
seeing speckle interferometry

Review Questions

  1. The distance to the nearest star is 4.3 light years = 4.3 × 9.7 trillion kilometers = 41,800,000,000,000 kilometers. Does Mauna Kea's elevation of 4177 meters (=2.6 miles) put it significantly closer to even the nearest star than something at sea level? Explain your answer. (1 kilometer = 1000 meters.)
  2. What causes stars to twinkle? What would make good seeing?
  3. Even with perfectly clear skies free of human-made pollution, the seeing on Mauna Kea (4177 meters elevation) is much better than at sea level. Why is that?
  4. What absorbs infrared light in our atmosphere and up to what height above sea level is most of this infrared absorber found?
  5. Even with perfectly clear skies free of human-made pollution, infrared observations can be made at Mauna Kea but not at Kitt Peak (2070 meters elevation). Why is that?
  6. Why are all ultraviolet, X-ray, and gamma ray telescopes put up in orbit?

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last updated: 20 May 2001

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Author of original content: Nick Strobel