Monday, June 21, 2010
The Large Binocular Telescope has been making steady progress since 2005, achieving first light with one mirror then, then first light with its second mirror the year after that, followed by first binocular light in 2008 and now adaptive optics on one of the mirrors. Even with adaptive optics on just one mirror, it is now able to produce images sharper than that by the Hubble:
The Hubble image is on the left, LBT on the right. You can see the difference in particular in the area on the right, which in the Hubble image looks like just a dark red haze whereas in the right image the forms of the stars are much clearer.
The press release on the LBT site provides us with an even more dramatic example:
This one isn't a comparison between the LBT and Hubble, but rather the difference between observing on the ground without correction vs. with it, and here the difference is that between night and day.