Professional Telescopes

Space and ground-based telescopes have not only transformed astronomical research, but they are impressive feats of engineering in themselves. The Hubble Space Telescope — the first large (2.5m) space-based telescope — can lay claim to some of mankind’s greatest discoveries.

But astronomers have multiple means of seeing the universe. They’ve equipped a Boeing 747 with a 2.5m telescope that looks out of a hole cut in the craft’s fuselage; they’ve placed 66 radio dishes on a plateau in the Chilean Andes, providing some of the sharpest views of the universe yet; and they’ve even designed telescopes no bigger than a loaf of bread. Sky & Telescope keeps you up to date on new ingenious methods of peering into the depths of space.

Lick's Great Refractor

Lick Observatory Gets a Reprieve

Last year the University of California ordered its astronomers to make historic Lick Observatory self-supporting by 2018. Now there's been a change of heart, and the university will continue to pay for its operation.

Star before and after adaptive optics

Next-Gen Adaptive Optics

The Subaru Telescope has donned a new pair of glasses called Raven, a multi-object adaptive optics system that enables astronomers to correct for atmospheric turbulence over an unprecedented field of view.

Planck cosmic microwave background

Planck Spacecraft Shut Down

After four years of exquisite observations, the latest mission to study the universe's earliest light has been shuttered. But this end is a happy one and comes with a significant cosmological legacy.

XMM-Newton Slew Survey

Glimpse the X-ray Sky

Time and tide wait for no man. So the XMM-Newton space telescope is making every second count. As the telescope shifts its gaze from source to source, it's recording the X-ray sky.

Bushfire at Siding Spring Observatory

Fire Damages Siding Spring Observatory

Yesterday bushfires swept through Australia's Warrumbungle National Park, home to Siding Spring Observatory. The telescopes there appear to have escaped harm, but some support facilities and staff homes were destroyed.