During the last 350 years, astronomers have improved the sensitivity of their observations by a factor of almost a billion by using larger telescopes and better detectors. At optical wavelengths, however, there has been little improvement in angular resolution since Galileo's time. Until very recently, atmospheric turbulence limited the resolution of astronomical observations with even the largest telescopes at the best sites to around 0.5”. Astronomy is on the verge of realizing the promise of two new techniques that will improve the limiting resolution of optical and infrared observations by factors of tens or even thousands.
Adaptive Optics and Interferometry
Charles A. Beichman, Stephen Ridgway; Adaptive Optics and Interferometry. Physics Today 1 April 1991; 44 (4): 48–51. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.881287
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