by Theodore Frimet
or how I stumbled onto an Ultra Violet telescope
A few articles ago, in fact, my first, I described how I was converting my passion for infrared based sensing of cloud height to near infrared sensing of star light. And that I anticipated a failure. What I should have seen coming, down the proverbial tunnel, was lots of procrastination. Well, maybe not ‘lots”, however enough to miss out on the three really good days of winter for back yard astronomy in my hometown of Croydon, PA. And by snuggling up with some books, and coffee, instead of the cold dark sky, I missed the winter sky. Almost entirely, that is, if you don’t count “looking up at the night sky” and knowing that you are one with the universe(s).
So, how to recover from some of the insult of having to wait for better skies in March? It came to me about three days after positing the question. Or to rephrase, politely, how does one not “eat crow” for missing a self appointed time schedule? Be inventive!
I had discovered, to my delight, that after coating my 4 inch mirror with gold leaf, that the visual color of star light had been altered. It appeared pale, with blue over tones. “Ah Ha”, he decries! What was once invisible that is now blue in visual spectrum?
Having originally thought out that “yellow” gold leaf would enhance more red-yellow; to my amazement, I was seeing more of the opposing side of the visual spectrum. I now pronounce, …ahem…, and with some reservations….that Ultra Violet light is being converted from the non visible part of the spectrum to visible blue (or if you prefer “visual purple/violet”). By default, I claim that instead of a “IR” telescope, I’ve got a “UV” telescope!
I plan on March to revisit the near infrared sensor (TI 101) as installed. And then, with or without success, will invest some time in an UV sensor and see if gold coating on the mirror surface does promote more visible light, than not.
However, no timetable is going to be set this time, as it is a slow boat from overseas that delivers the goods. Alas, and for now, I’ve got to take some Tums© to go with my crow.