Earth-based telescopes will outdo Hubble in resolution by a factor of 16

This is a well-known fact, apart from a certain misinformed person (Professor?  I somehow doubt it) who felt it necessary to impart his faulty “knowledge” at a talk I gave at the Lymington Yacht club.

For the benefit of the misinformed individual there is an interesting article that can be found here:  http://www.nature.com/news/astronomy-laser-focus-1.16741?WT.ec_id=NEWS-20150127  which spells out in detail how adaptive optics gives large ground-based telescopes the edge in resolution over Hubble (as I actually said at the end of my talk but which obviously went straight over the head of said Yachtie).  However, to any thinking person it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise should it?  The new Extremely Large Telescope (ground-based) will have 16x yes that is SIXTEEN times the resolution of Hubble.  But it’s hardly a fair race when you are putting a 39-metre mirror (the ELT) against the piddling little 2.4-metre mirror of Hubble is it?  Yes you need the adaptive optics to get the best out of ground-based telescopes, but it is hardly surprising (to most people) that the huge ground-based telescopes can outdo Hubble in terms of resolution.

 

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