Wide-field astronomical multiscale cameras


In order to produce sufficiently low aberrations with a large aperture, telescopes have a limited field of view. Because of this narrow field, large areas of the sky at a given time are unobserved. We propose several telescopes based on monocentric reflective, catadioptric, and refractive objectives that may be scaled to wide fields of view and achieve 1.″1 resolution, which in most locations is the practical seeing limit of the atmosphere. The reflective and Schmidt catadioptric objectives have relatively simple configurations and enable large fields to be captured at the expense of the obscuration of the mirror by secondary optics, a defect that may be managed by image plane design. The refractive telescope design does not have an obscuration but the objective has substantial bulk. The refractive design is a 38 gigapixel camera which consists of a single monocentric objective and 4272 microcameras. Monocentric multiscale telescopes, with their wide fields of view, may observe phenomena that might otherwise be unnoticed, such as supernovae, glint from orbital space debris, and near-earth objects. © 2013. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.