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DIY Instruments for Amateur Space by Sandy Antunes

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Chapter 2. Introduction to Instruments

There is no ultimate detector, no detector that has an infinite field of view with perfect spatial resolution taking rapid frames covering the entire spectral wavelength (plus particle events) with zero noise. We’ll cover what sensors and detectors do, and how to balance the key tradeoffs required to make the best sensor for your task.

Let’s get some definitions out of the way:

  • A sensor is a device for measuring a quantity. Sensor and detector are fairly synonymous.
  • An instrument is one or more sensors.
  • A telescope is one or more instruments coaligned, often with a focusing device.

Even something as simple as “let’s go out and look at the night sky” requires instrument design. If you grab binoculars, you ...

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