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UCO/Lick Ask An Astronomer Question Archive

Keck Laser, (c) Laurie Hatch This page collects all questions submitted to Ask An Astronomer and answered by one of the graduate students at the Astronomy Department, UCSC. Before submitting your question, please check if it has already been submitted by browsing the Archive.

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Frequently asked questions

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Featured question

Can we reveal the actual optical disk of another star than our sun's?

The answers are yes – yes, we have telescopes that large; yes, we've seen the disks of other stars, and yes, we're even directly imaging planets now.

First, as you've remarked, we have several large segmented-mirror telescopes that are on the order of 10 meters (~33 feet) in diameter. Interestingly, these were not the first telescopes to actually image a star. In '95-6, astronomers from Harvard used the Hubble Space Telescope (a diameter of only ~2.4 meters, ~8 feet) imaged Betelgeuse, a red supergiant in the constellation of Orion. (See the press release at


Image Credit: Andrea Dupree (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA), Ronald Gilliland (STScI), NASA and ESA

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are those of individual authors and don't necessarily represent the Observatory's positions. Send your feedback to

The AAA Team - Credits - Pages by Stefano Meschiari and Jill Naiman - Images © Laurie Hatch

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home.1233597031.txt.gz · Last modified: 2009/02/02 09:50 by czars · [Old revisions]