Research NewsAstronomy

Intimate Views of the Stars

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Science  06 Mar 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5356, pp. 1449-1451
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5356.1449

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Optical interferometers, ground-based arrays of small telescopes costing as little as $1 million, are allowing astronomers to capture details of nearby stars that elude even the Hubble Space Telescope. By combining light from telescopes tens or hundreds of meters apart, an interferometer mimics a single telescope that has a gargantuan mirror and is unaffected by atmospheric turbulence. Already, optical interferometers are resolving such intimate details of stars as their girth and binary companions.