Your next eyeglass exam might see an upgrade thanks to a high-tech astronomy tool developed to help see distant celestial bodies more clearly.
The technique, called wavefront analysis, takes precise measurements of how light reflected from the back of the eye exits. The difference between how light would be refracted through a normally shaped lens and cornea and how it is actually refracted creates a precise map of optical abnormalities known as higher-order aberrations.
"Astronomers already used these techniques to enable a clear telescopic view of planets and stars, undistorted by the focusing aberrations resulting from the Earth’s atmosphere," says Dr. Anthony Adams, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Optometry and Vision Science. "In the past two decades, optometry and ophthalmology researchers have borrowed techniques for measuring and correcting these higher-order abnormalities.”
NASA’s Voyager 1, which last week made headlines after scientists announced it had officially left our solar system, is now more than 11 billion miles from Earth. It has traveled farther than any other object humanity has ever produced.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t still spot it in the sky from Earth. Using a network of 10 radio telescopes called the Very Long Baseline Array, astronomers found and photographed the glow coming from Voyager’s main transmitter. The signal is beaming from the satellite at 22 watts, “which is comparable to a typical police car radio or — in visible light — a refrigerator light bulb,” says the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) team that tracked down the little probe that could.
Even though Voyager’s transmission broadcasts at such low power, they say, it is significantly stronger than any of the naturally occurring radio waves around it. Another instrument, called the Green Bank telescope, picked out Voyager from the background noise within one second.