Totally OT: Tiny telescope array

We are living in a golden age of astronomy. I’m simply thrilled at the beautiful pictures of the cosmos taken by space telescopes, binocular telescopes, large arrays, etc.

Now “Science” is reporting a new array of tiny telescopes, each small enough to pick up with your hands.…

**All-seeing telescope will snap exploding stars, may spy a hidden world**
**Array of 900 instruments will make movies of heavens, revealing short-lived and fast-changing events**

**24 Aug 2022, By Daniel Clery, Science**

**Argus Panoptes, the all-seeing, manyeyed giant of Greek mythology, is about to take physical form in the mountains of North Carolina. In October, an array of 38 small telescopes will begin monitoring a slice of visible sky 1700 times the size of the full Moon. Known as the Argus Array Pathfinder, it will register changes in the stars second by second, essentially making a nightlong celestial movie. Its developers hope it will pave the way for a much larger Argus Array with 900 telescopes that by 2025 could watch the entire visible night sky.**

**The Argus telescopes join others aiming to capture short-lived or rapidly changing astrophysical events, known as transients, including exploding stars, ravenous black holes, neutron star mergers, and maybe even stars briefly eclipsed by the long-postulated hidden planet in our Solar System. The full Argus Array would watch the sky with more mirror area than all other transient telescopes put together, says team leader Nicholas Law of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill...**

**Argus aims to achieve its unique vision with hundreds of off-the-shelf telescopes, each just 20 centimeters across and watching a different patch of sky. The final array will match the light-gathering power of a telescope with a single 5-meter mirror, which typically costs hundreds of millions of dollars, but cheap components should keep Argus’s cost below $20 million, Law says. The challenge will come in stitching together the array’s 900 images into a single, seamless movie of the night sky...** [end quote]

I enjoy watching computer-generated videos based on telescope data, but I think it would be wonderful to be able to see fast events as videos in real time.

Although the project was funded by the National Science Foundation, it’s easy to envision practical uses for this fast-responding array. Commercial and government satellite owners should be able to track their positions in real time, finding any that have gone astray. I was surprised that the array wasn’t funded by the Defense Department since there are so many obvious defense-related applications.