Science: Schmidt's-Eye View

Such great telescopes as the 200-incher on Mt. Palomar see only tiny patches of sky. They need a more wide-eyed instrument to tell them where to look. Last week CalTech and the National Geographic Society announced a joint project to map the whole sky in search of interesting objects for big telescopes to study in detail. The society will supply the funds; CalTech, which runs Palomar Observatory, will supply the Schmidt telescope to do the mapping.

The Schmidt telescope was invented by Estonian-born Bernhard Schmidt (1879-1935). Scientist Schmidt spent years studying the failings of refracting (lens) telescopes and reflecting (mirror) telescopes. Finally...

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