Astronomy quiz question: adaptive optics

Astronomy 210 Quiz 3, fall semester 2011
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Adaptive optics improves the resolution of telescope images by using a computer to rapidly:
(A) change the humidity inside the tube.
(B) trigger a laser to heat up the atmosphere.
(C) combine the light collected by several connected telescopes.
(D) adjust the shape of the mirror.

Correct answer: (D)

Distortions in images caused by atmospheric turbulence can be removed in real-time by using a computer to reshape the (secondary) mirror such that a reference star (or a laser beam) within the field of view has a point-like shape. Response (C) is interferometry (which also improves the resolution of telescope images).

Section 70158
Exam code: quiz03sO1L
(A) : 1 student
(B) : 1 student
(C) : 17 students
(D) : 15 students

Success level: 59% (including partial credit for multiple-choice)
Discrimination index (Aubrecht & Aubrecht, 1983): 0.71

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