Liquid telescopes with mirrors made of ferromagnetic liquid instead of mercury

Friday, June 18, 2010

I've written a few times (here and here) recently on telescopes with liquid mirrors, as they are some 95% to 99% cheaper than telescopes made with solid mirrors, and thus even without being able to observe anywhere but the zenith (directly above the telescope) are worth being paid more attention to. However, in addition to this research is being carried out on the ability to move these liquid mirrors around somewhat, usually by using both magnetic fields as well as more viscous liquids. Yesterday an article here made the front page of Meneame (Spanish Reddit/Digg), as well as a translation in Spanish here of the same article. The original paper (from 14 June) can be read here.

The article notes that with improved viscosity the frequency for these mirrors can now reach 1 kHz instead of the previous 10 Hz. Eventually (how many years this will take is unknown) we may reach the point where a telescope like the (canceled) Overwhelmingly Large Telescope (100 metres in diametr) can be built for a mere $20 million or so instead of the estimated $2 billion for a solid mirror.

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