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Optics: Resolving Power

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1. The telescope on Mount Palomar has a diameter of 200 inches. Suppose a double star were 8.40 light-years away.
Under ideal conditions, what must be the minimum separation of the two stars for their images to be resolved using
light of wavelength 550 nm? (Unit: m)
All answers must have three significant digits unless otherwise specified.

2. The Impressionist painter Georges Seurat used a technique called pointillism , in which his paintings are composed of
small, closely spaced dots of pure color, each about 2 mm in diameter. The illusion of the colors blending together
smoothly is produced in the eye of the viewer by diffraction effects. Calculate the minimum viewing distance for this
effect to work properly. (Unit: m)
All answers must have three significant digits unless otherwise specified.
Hint: Use the wavelength of visible light that requires the greatest distance, so that you're sure the effect will work for all
visible wavelengths. Assume the pupil of the eye has a diameter of 3 mm.

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Solution Summary

1. The diameter of the objective and the wavelength of the light given and the minimum separation between two stars for clear view is calculated.

2. The diameter of the dots is given and the minimum distance for viewing it with clarity is calculated.

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