Astronomers' Universe

Astronomy’s Quest for Sharp Images

From Blurred Pictures to the Very Large Telescope

Authors: Léna, Pierre

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  • Chronicles the human and scientific sides of new development of astronomical imaging methods that have revolutionised ground-based optical astronomy
  • Authored by a pioneer of adaptive optics in astronomy
  • Written in a style accessible for all interested readers
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  • ISBN 978-3-030-55811-6
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About this book

Since the 1960s, astrophysical discoveries have blossomed, due to the emergence of powerful and new observational tools. Among them, a fantastic improvement of the sharpness of astronomical images, obtained with ground based optical telescopes, has been the result of two revolutions: adaptive optics and optical interferometry.

Written for a general audience, interwoven with fascinating details about the evolution of vision and optics, this book tells a personal story of these revolutions in observational astronomy, born two centuries ago and blossoming in the past fifty years. With the construction of the Very Large Telescope in Chile, Europe played a leading role where young scientists, joining creative astronomers and engineers, have developed a superb creativity. Today, incredibly sharp images of exoplanetary systems and black hole environments are obtained and reveal new questions about Earth-like objects or fundamental physics. 

The author has been one of the actors of this adventure. His first-hand testimony is opening the future to new horizons.

About the authors

Pierre Léna, born 1937, is a French astrophysicist, Emeritus Professor at the Université de Paris and Paris Observatory. His scientific work focused on infrared astronomy and star formation. His interest for image quality in astronomy led him to develop adaptive optics and optical interferometry applied to the European Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, both techniques making today the VLT a unique instrument for the study of exoplanets and black holes. In charge for many years of the École doctorale ‘Astronomie & Astrophysique d’Île-de-France’, he contributed to the training of many students in these new areas. In 1996 he co-founded the program ‘La main à la pâte’ to renovate science education in primary and middle schools, working at national, European and international levels. In 2011 he chaired the InterAcademy Partnership for Science education program. Then for 2012-2016, he chaired the new Foundation ‘La main à la pâte’, created by the French Académie des sciences. In 2018, he created the Office for Climate Education in connection with IAP and IPCC, with a broad international network. Pierre Léna belongs to the French Académie des sciences, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and several other Academies. He is the author of many publications, movies and books, both professional and aimed at the general public.

Table of contents (9 chapters)

Table of contents (9 chapters)
  • One Night in Paranal

    Pages 1-14

    Léna, Pierre

  • From the Dawn of Time

    Pages 15-30

    Léna, Pierre

  • Too Good to Be True? Adaptive Optics

    Pages 31-57

    Léna, Pierre

  • The Quest for Sharp Images: Interferometry

    Pages 59-118

    Léna, Pierre

  • The Very Large Telescope: A Twofold Victory Over Blur

    Pages 119-157

    Léna, Pierre

Buy this book

eBook $19.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-55811-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $29.99
price for USA in USD
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Astronomy’s Quest for Sharp Images
Book Subtitle
From Blurred Pictures to the Very Large Telescope
Authors
Series Title
Astronomers' Universe
Copyright
2020
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-55811-6
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-55811-6
Softcover ISBN
978-3-030-55810-9
Series ISSN
1614-659X
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIII, 271
Number of Illustrations
10 b/w illustrations, 38 illustrations in colour
Additional Information
Based on a translation from the French language edition: Une histoire de flou. Miroirs, trous noirs et autres mondes by Pierre LÉNA Copyright © Le Pommier/Humensis, 2019
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