Washington: New space telescope concept may provide 1,000 times sharper images than Hubble Space Telescope, it has been reported.
University of Colorado Boulder researchers will soon update NASA officials about the idea.
The new telescope concept, named the Aragoscope after French scientist Francois Arago who first detected diffracted light waves around a disk, could allow scientists to image space objects like black hole "event horizons" and plasma swaps between stars, said Professor Webster Cash of CU-Boulder's Center.
The novel telescope system also could point toward Earth and image objects as small as a rabbit, giving it the ability to hunt for lost campers in the mountains, he further added.
The opaque space disk would be made of a strong, dark, plastic-like material (think Hefty Bag) that could be launched in a compressed fashion like a parachute, then unfurled in orbit. The space shield would be tethered to the telescope at distances from tens to hundreds of miles depending on the size of the disk, said Anthony Harness of the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences.
Cash and Harness said they hope to conduct an astronomical demonstration of the Aragoscope concept in the lab using a 1-meter disk placed several meters from a telescope. The light source would be fixed about 5 or 10 meters behind the disk.
In addition, they hope to test the starshade concept by fixing a space disk on a mountaintop and attaching a telescope on a hovering aircraft in order to image Alpha Centauri, a binary star system that appears as the third brightest star in the sky.