Blink comparator

Blink comparator

Comparateur à clignotement

Comparateur à clignotement de l'Observatoire Lowell utilisé lors de la découverte de Pluton.

Un comparateur à clignotement est un dispositif opto-mécanique autrefois utilisé par les astronomes pour faire apparaître les différences entre deux photographies de la même portion de ciel prises à des instants différents. Il fonctionne en faisant alterner rapidement les deux images (le « clignotement ») à partir de leur négatif[1].

Il permet d'identifier rapidement les objets changeant de position (planètes, astéroïdes, comètes, composantes de binaires visuelles étoiles à grand mouvement propre) ou de magnitude (étoiles variables, novae).

La planète naine Pluton fut découverte grâce à un comparateur à clignotement de l'Observatoire Lowell (voir image ci-contre)[2].


  • (en) J. P. Tafforin, « Plate comparators » dans Patrick Martinez et Storm Dunlop (dir.), The Observer's Guide to Astronomy, Cambridge University Press, 1994 (ISBN 0521379458) 


Notes et références

  1. (en) P. Clay Sherrod, Thomas L. Koed, A Complete Manual of Amateur Astronomy: Tools and Techniques for, Courier Dover Publications, 2003 (ISBN 0486428206) 
  2. (en) Gerald North, Astronomy in Depth, Springer, 2003 (ISBN 1852335807) 
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