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.
Kiruna's ore is of a constant Fe content so using a production monitoring system as part of the automation package would immediately show light bucket load.
Astrosat joins several other X-ray observatories already in orbit: Chandra makes out fine details in low-energy X-ray images, NuSTAR brings high-energy X-rays into sharp focus, Swift monitors the sky for distant explosions bright in X-rays and gamma rays, and ESA's XMM-Newton is a light bucket for low-energy X-rays.
Many of the featured objects are familiar showpieces requiring just binoculars or a small refractor; a few are obscure challenges for an experienced observer with a 12-inch or larger light bucket.
Impatient with the lingering twilight, I grabbed a 220x eyepiece and aimed my light bucket at the Beehive.
From NGC 6886, I pushed my light bucket another 2[degrees] eastward to snare NGC 6905 (20h 22.
a very large Dobsonian-mounted telescope syn: light bucket
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.
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.
And big light buckets take too much time and space to set up and use in a hurry.