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Home > Science > Space Exploration > Telescopes Optical

Telescopes Optical Gallery

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Spiral galaxy NGC 2403, optical image Featured Telescopes Optical Image

Spiral galaxy NGC 2403, optical image

Spiral galaxy NGC 2403, combined optical image. NGC 2403 lies about 12 million light years from Earth, in the constellation Camelopardalis. The galaxy consists of a central nucleus surrounded by spiral arms. It also hosts a supernova that was discovered in 2004 (orange star directly left of the galaxy's nucleus). A supernova is the explosive death of a massive star and this one is the closest to Earth that had been recorded in over a decade. As the light emission pattern from supernovae is well understood, study of distant supernovae can be used to gauge distances and aid cosmological understanding. Image compiled from data from the Subaru Telescope and Hubble Space Telescope

© ROBERT GENDLER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Antennae colliding galaxies Featured Telescopes Optical Image

Antennae colliding galaxies

Antennae colliding galaxies, combined optical image. The Antennae (NGC 4038 and NGC 4039) are formed of two galaxies colliding due to mutual gravitational attraction. The nuclei (yellow) of the galaxies are at lower left and upper right. Numerous dark lanes of dust are seen silhouetted against the bright parts of the galaxies. The interaction has caused a huge swathe of starbirth, as seen by the abundance of young blue stars and the vast pink emission nebulae, in which stars are born. The Antennae lie some 62 million light years from Earth in the constellation Corvus. Image compiled from data from the Subaru Telescope and Hubble Space Telescope

© ROBERT GENDLER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Reflaction and Telescope Optics Featured Telescopes Optical Image

Reflaction and Telescope Optics

Plate from 18th century encyclopedia showing diagrams of telescope optics, and light raypaths through prisms and lenses to the eye. An eyepiece, or ocular lens, is a type of lens that is attached to a variety of optical devices such as telescopes and microscopes. It is so named because it is usually the lens that is closest to the eye when someone looks through the device. The objective lens or mirror collects light and brings it to focus creating an image. The eyepiece is placed near the focal point of the objective to magnify this image. The amount of magnification depends on the focal length of the eyepiece. Two drawings illustrate lightpaths through reflecting telescopes, one showing the rays reflected by an angled flat mirror through 90 degrees to an eyepiece, the other reflected back through a hole in the primary mirror

© DAVID PARKER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY