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TYCHO OTTESEN BRAHE
TYCHO OTTESEN BRAHE
Scania, Denmark (1546 - 1601)
Tycho Brahe was a Danish nobleman famed for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations. Hailing from Scania, then part of Denmark, now part of modern-day Sweden, Brahe was well known in his lifetime as an astronomer and alchemist.
 

Enjoy these insightful and educational video clips drawn from over 70 hours of interviews with the world's leading figures in astronomy, shot during the filming of 400 Years of the Telescope.

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Taft E. Armandroff

Using adaptive optics to change the mirror shape
Taft E. Armandroff - W. M. Keck Observatory

With Nelsonís vision and the advances in computer and sensor technology and actuator technology, we are using computers and sensors to constantly adjust the mirrors to compensate for the forces of gravity, to compensate for thermal effects and to adjust for everything that can keep the mirrors from being perfect.

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Taft E. Armandroff

Adaptive optics and the laser guide star
Taft E. Armandroff - W. M. Keck Observatory

Adaptive optics uses a bright source coming from the atmosphere, originally a bright star to go out to something called a wave front sensor that tells us how the atmosphere is defocusing, introducing a stigmatism and other variables into this perfect star image that is hitting the upper atmosphere.

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Taft E. Armandroff

Extrasolar planetary search
Taft E. Armandroff - W. M. Keck Observatory

You know Keck has been really active in discovering planets around nearby stars, and 20 years ago there were no planets known outside of our solar system. So I would predict the next great discovery with Keck is going to be a planet with a mass very similar to the Earth, and I think that is really going to galvanize not only astronomy community interest but public interest in habitable zones in planetary systems and in life elsewhere in the universe.

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Taft E. Armandroff

Ground vs. space-based telescopes
Taft E. Armandroff - W. M. Keck Observatory

Ground based telescopes offer a number of advantages over space-based telescopes. We are already getting resolutions with the Keck telescope that are significantly higher, two-to-four times higher, than with the Hubble space telescope.

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Taft E. Armandroff

Why I became an astronomer
Taft E. Armandroff - W. M. Keck Observatory

I got very interested in astronomy as a junior high school and high school student. I built a radio telescope in my own back yard. And I was very fortunate because my school district would send people to a place called Talcat Mountain science center during on the weekends where they would get people who were interested in science from a variety of schools, and pair them with scientists and engineers to work on special projects.

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