Speaker: Professor Peter Tuthill 
Affiliation: University of Sydney

Abstract

Stars twinkle - and this imposes a fundamental limit on the resolution and dynamic range of conventional imaging from the ground. More than a century ago, astronomers first realized how to overcome the resolution limits of the atmosphere by masking out most of the telescope aperture down to a double slit experiment, which can be accurately calibrated. This technique has permitted some of the highest-resolution astronomical images from the ground, and our team have used this to reveal disks from which planets are being born and spectacular spirals of dust around dying stars. The same simple trick allows us to calibrate the tiny mirror misalignments in the James Webb Space Telescope, to get images of unprecedented resolution and fidelity - and to do this we have contributed the only Australian hardware on board NASA's $10B flagship mission. I will discuss highlights of this interferometric technology, scientific discoveries it has enabled so far, and the prospects for discovering exoplanets and more with JWST.

About Physics colloquium

The Physics Colloquium series hosts a range of speakers from Australia and abroad. The series explores a variety of topics and everyone is welcome to come along. The seminars are open so there is no need to register your attendance.

Venue

Physics Annexe (06)
Room: 407

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