Science: Telescopic Short Cut

Stargazers, as they wait for newer, bigger telescopes to be built, long for a short cut to a better look through the light years at unexplored outer space. Last week University of Chicago Astronomer William A. Hiltner completed laboratory tests on a new "image-converter" that may increase telescopic visibility a hundredfold.

Used in the Army's World War II snooperscopes, the image-converter is essentially a booster for light. In a vacuum tube, photons of light strike a cesium-antimony photocathode, which in turn gives off high-speed electrons. The electrons are accelerated through an electric field, hit a sensitive "retina" screen or a photographic plate,...

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