Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New News For Revolutionary Telescope, Lens

James Webb Space Telescope Model On Display

As we all know by now, despite still delivering breathtaking images time and time again, the Hubble Space Telescope is on its way out, due to be replaced by the James Webb Space Telescope.

To help people gain a perspective of just what the scope will be like, its builder has constructed a full-sized replica of the future space scope. The model weighs 12,000 pounds, is 80 feet long, and 40 feet wide, and also features a replica of the Webb's 6.5m main mirror (which is over 3 times as wide as Hubble's). The model will be a central feature of the 2010 World Science Festival, which runs today through June 6 in New York City. This is just the latest stop for the model, which has seen Washington D.C., Florida, and Germany. As for the real scope, it will launch in 2014 and should be operational in 2015. The scope is named for James E. Webb, who headed NASA from 1961-1968.

Note the complete open design. Why would this be done other than as a weight-saving measure? Simple, the Webb scope is an infrared, not a visible light scope. According to NASA, this will allow the scope to see farther away (and farther back in time) than Hubble ever could.

Lenstip Tests Sigma 8-16mm DC HSM Lens

The world's widest lens just got run through another series of rigorous tests, this time by Poland-based Lenstip. The result: just like the earlier test on Photozone, very high praise. In short, Lenstip praided the lens for its high sharpness (among the best tested), high build quality, well-controlled distortion (for a lens this extreme), good flare control (for a lens with a huge, bulbous front element), and focus. Another thing noted in the review was that, due to the ultra, ultra wide angle and small apertures, missing focus should just about be impossible, so the whole Sigma inability to focus saga may not apply here.

On the down side, the lens was found to have very high vignetting (to be expected for a lens this wide that's not the size of a grapefruit) and high astigmatism (without which, an already above average lens would have been even better).

All in all, another good review for a one of a kind lens.

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