light bucket

light bucket

1. astronomy A telescope whose lens (the "bucket") has a large aperture so as to gather and focus a large amount of photons, thereby producing brightened images of normally imperceptible objects. I'm always left amazed after using the light bucket at the university and glimpsing images of the cosmos way out in the dark of space.
2. By extension, such a lens (as on a camera or telescope) that has a large enough aperture to enhance images in low-level light. What's truly special about the light bucket on this camera is that it maintains a relatively high shutter speed while still capturing clear shots in low-light environments.
See also: bucket, light
References in periodicals archive ?
The Kepler observatory's single instrument is a very sensitive photometer -- "a big light bucket," as NASA researcher Martin Still describes it -- that would be overwhelmed by the light of the sun.
domestic draft tubes, Bud Light buckets of five and spikes of Midnight Moon Original or Apple Pie Moonshine, customers will enjoy "First Down" and "Winning Play" menu highlights including:
The same is true of telescopes - it's the area of the collecting lens or mirror that counts, telescopes are light buckets whose job is to collect more of those wonderful photons and feed them into our eyes.
Still, the information is there, inscribed in electromagnetic radiation that does us the great favor of crossing the universe and landing in the light buckets we call telescopes.
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