Date: 28 Feb 2009

Fundamentals of Optical Telescopes

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This chapter provides a general overview of optical telescope history, astronomical requirements, optical aberrations, optical telescope system design, and modern optical theory. In this chapter, important optical concepts such as angular resolution, light collecting power, field of view, telescope efficiency, atmospheric seeing, geometrical aberrations, wavefront error, ray tracing, merit function, optical and modulation transfer function, point spread function, Strehl ratio, and imaging spatial frequency are introduced. The concept discussions are arranged in a systematic way so that readers can learn step-by-step. The chapter provides many important formulas of optical system design and evaluation. Emphases are placed on both the traditional geometric aberrational theory and the modern optical theory. At the end of the chapter, image properties of a segmented mirror system are also discussed in detail.