Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is this really Norway's largest telescope?
    This is the largest research-grade optical telescope in Norway, as far as the author is aware of. However, it is possible that there may be Dobsonian telescopes with apertures larger than 62 centimetres. Large Dobsonians with quality optics are  great for visual use, but not for astrophotography, spectrography and photometry.

  2. When will you finish the optics?
    When they have obtained an extremely high surface accuracy ;-)
     
  3. Is the observatory open to the public?
    It is unfortunately not a public observatory. However, one can use the contact page to find out if it is possible to receive an invitation.
     
  4. Why is there no national research-grade observatory in Norway with a telescope larger than 62 centimetres (24 inch)?
    There are no gigantic telescopes in Norway because of poor atmospheric conditions: too much light, too often cloudy, too much turbulence, too much humidity, too much aurora.
     
    Atmospheric conditions in Norway are not optimal for research in optical astronomy. Mainland Norway extends from 58 to 71 degrees of latitude. This precludes dark night skies during the summer months. Though winter skies are dark, they are often overcast. When skies are clear north of 65 degrees, the aurora may interrupt long exposures. Even crystal clear skies are often plagued by high-altitude turbulent air because of the jet stream. High latitudes are rarely suitable for large optical telescopes. That is why the world's largest telescopes are located at low latitudes but high altitudes, in dry mountain deserts: Atacama in northern Chile, Mauna Kea in Hawaii, volcanic summits in the Canary Islands, in Australia and South Africa. The goal is to have as little air and moisture over the observatory as possible. However, one advantage of the Norwegian skies is that the air is very transparent. There is little dust.
     
  5. Why does a Cassegrain optical system need a field corrector lens?
    Cassegrain optics produce a curved focal plane. Even the prime focus is curved. This is negligible when one uses only the central part of the field, as when using a planetary camera with a small imaging chip. It is a problem when one uses a large CCD chip such as the Kodak KAF-16803 with imaging area: 36.8 x 36.8mm (1359 sq mm). Without a focal plane flattener (field corrector lens) the inner part of the field is in focus when the outer part is not, and vice-versa. A field corrector placed at the correct distance from focus flattens the focal plane.
     
  6. Why is the telescope mount so massive (550 kg) ?
    A steady mount is a heavy mount. If possible, mounts should be designed to carry twice the required equipment load.
     
  7. Why is it called Dinium?
    Because of my day-job, marine palynology; the paleontology of fossil microplankton. Dinium is a common suffix used in the names of dinoflagellate genera, for example, Ctenidodinium, Spinidinium, Palaeoperidinium and MANY more. Fossil dinoflagellates are very common in sedimentary rocks, especially rocks that began as fine-grained sediments deposited in an open marine environment. Dinoflagellates have existed for over 240 million years, so they are used to map sedimentary rocks from the Triassic to the present over the entire planet.

    And besides, I think "dinium" has a nice Latin ring to it.  ;-)