A new ultrablack coating for telescopes could bring more stars into focus

The images we get these days from advanced telescopes, such as the James Webb Space Telescope, undoubtedly leave us in awe and wonder of galaxies that exist light-years away from Earth. But what if these pictures could be improved even more?Researchers from the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology and the Chinese Academy of Sciences hope they’re able to help with just that through their development of a thin, ultrablack film coating for aerospace-grade magnesium alloys.

Think about it this way — when you want to see the stars and look for planets on a clear night, you need it to be as dark as possible. So, to accomplish this, you may drive away from city lights and into a more rural location where you can find yourself in complete darkness, with the exception of the moonlight, perhaps. The same concept is true for astronomers working with precision optics. But, they get a little more inventive. To achieve the darkest of darkness, they don’t just seek out areas without city lights. They also incorporate black paint in their stargazing processes, coating their devices with such pigment to reduce stray light as much as possible and provide the best picture and performance they can. The same theory applies when building a telescope that operates in space as well.

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