Charles H. Townes

University of California, Berkeley


Election Year: 1956
Primary Section: 13, Physics
Secondary Section: 12, Astronomy
Membership Type: Member

Research Interests

I am interested in astrophysics very broadly. However, my primary research at present involves very high angular resolution astronomy in the mid-infrared (10 micron region) by use of interferometric techniques. Two 1.65 meter telescopes mounted in trailers have been constructed so that stellartype interferometry can be carried out at various baselines. They are installed on Mt. Wilson and are obtaining good results. This represents the first time that very high angular resolution is available on a regular basis in the mid-infrared region. Construction of a third similar telescope has been funded and is underway. This will provide three baselines simultaneously rather than our previous single one between the two telescopes. It will be of special help in two-dimensional imaging. Scientific objectives include: the angular resolution, proper motions, and study of protostars or unusual stars hidden in the dust clouds of their origin; angular resolution of latetype stars, the molecules and solids formed from their emissions, and their dynamics; and high-resolution mapping of other important infrared objects.

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