Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Physics Nobel for CCDs and fiber optics

Professor Astronomy explains how this year's Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for inventions that you'll find at every professional observatory on Earth (and many amateur observatories, too): charge-coupled devices (CCDs) and long-distance fiber optics.

It's not hyperbole to say that CCDs brought a revolution in astronomy -- great sensitivity that lets you find faint, distant galaxies; repeatability that lets you detect the slight dimming of a star as a planet passes in front; and an intrinsically digital format that made it easy to archive and share data.

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