In DepthAstronomy

Optical interferometers sharpen views of the sky

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Science  06 Jul 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6397, pp. 12-13
DOI: 10.1126/science.361.6397.12

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When it's complete, the $200 million Magdalena Ridge Observatory Interferometer (MROI) will have the equivalent resolution of a gigantic telescope 347 meters across. MROI's 10 small optical telescopes can't match the light-gathering power of its giant cousins, so it will be limited to bright targets. But by combining light from the spreadout telescopes, it is expected to make out small structures on stellar surfaces, image dust around newborn stars, and peer at supermassive black holes in active galaxies. It will even be able to make out details as small as a centimeter across on satellites in geosynchronous orbit, 36,000 kilometers above Earth, enabling it to spy on spy satellites.