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April 30, 2010

Detailed Picture of Star (Image 2)

Astronomers peering far into space using the world's largest infrared telescope can be likened to a person trying to read a newspaper that is one hundred miles away. The CHARA (Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy) Interferometer at Georgia State University, along with the Michigan Infrared Combiner (MIRC), make up the facility on Mount Wilson in California that has just imaged the star Altair, an object roughly one million times farther from us than the sun. CHARA is made up of six infrared telescopes with the MIRC being the rectangular building in the middle. Combining the light-capturing ability of four of the telescopes, the astronomers created an effective telescope diameter of approximately 250 meters, about 100 times bigger than the mirror on the Hubble Space Telescope.

This image accompanied NSF press release, "Gazing up at the Man in the Star?" [See related image Here.]

Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation

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