The Madawaska Highlands Observatory will be using some advanced
technology on its visitors telescopes to show real-time ultrahigh
resolution views of the planets and moon. As one of key mandates
of the facility is deliver an experience to guest that will be
unavailable anywhere in the world.
A very high performance high frame rate camera will be used at
the eyepiece of the Visitors Telescopes and display in real time
on a high resolution OLED screen views of the planets that on
occasion will be approach those from the Hubble telescope.
The process relies on the fact that the limiting resolution is
determined by the atmosphere and not the size of the telescope.
Even the largest telescopes have this limit. Indeed telescopes
as small as 14" can actually outperform multi-meter telescopes
in terms of seeing detail. These distortions caused by the atmosphere
are random and occasionally have steady periods where the telescope
can be used at it full resolution. These steady periods are typically
only a few milliseconds in length.
The technique allows some custom software to examine the hundreds
of frames per second short exposures from the camera and display
those rare images that are super-sharp. Which only happen every
few seconds, that is one in every few hundred frames.
The frames are fully corrected, calibrated and adjusted in real
The results are truly astonishing, as shown here, obtained with
14" telescope, a modest high quality camera in the backyard
of a home in southern England. Photo Courtesy D. Peach.
The Visitors Telescopes will be 30" and 40" and will
show significantly more detail. Details on Jupiter's moons will