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The Cardiff Half-metre Newise Telescope

The half-metre telescope on its robotic mount.

The half-metre telescope on its robotic mount.

Cardiff University has bought a half-metre optical telescope for use in under-graduate teaching laboratories. The telescope has enormous capability for astronomical imaging. Its size makes it amongst the largest of any UK university teaching telescopes. Its unique design gives it a level of image fidelity unmatched by similar sized telescopes of more conventional designs. It provides Cardiff with a very powerful tool for the teaching of practical astronomy.

The Cardiff half-metre Newise telescope

The telescope has a half-metre diameter primary mirror making it an extremely powerful instrument.

Telescope Design

The design of the telescope is novel. It is a variant on a Schmidt camera design, with a Newtonian eye-piece. A spherical primary mirror reflects light to a corrector plate, which removes spherical aberrations, followed by a flat secondary mirror, which in turn reflects the light to a focussing eye-piece. This can be replaced by a camera with an auto-focussing system. The telescope was designed by Peter Wise, and is known as a Newise design.


Diagram showing internal layout of telescope

Outside view of the telescope

Light enters from the left and focusses at the eyepiece at the top.

The telescope in the same orientation as in the diagram.

Image size vs field size

Performance comparison.

Plot showing the respective performance of different designs of telescope. The lower the line the better the telescope performance. The Newise telescope remains diffraction limited out to 1-degree radius.


The Pleiades, taken with a Newise telescope

Image of the Pleiades, taken with a Newise telescope. The inner dashed circle shows a 1-degree field of view, compared to the 2-degree field of the Newise.

Orion Nebula

M42, the Orion Nebula, taken with a Newise telescope

Picture of M42, the Orion Nebula, taken with a Newise telescope, showing the remarkable degree of image fidelity, of which this sytem is capable, over a wide field of view.