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Bahtinov masks

Robtics | Bahtinov

The Bahtinov mask is a device used to focus astronomical telescopes accurately. The telescope is pointed at a bright star, and a Bahtinov mask is placed in front of the telescope's lens or mirror.

The mask consists of three separate grids, positioned in such a way that the grids produce three angled diffraction spikes at the focal plane of the instrument for each bright image element. As the instrument's focus is changed, the central spike appears to move from one side of the star to the other. In reality, all three spikes move, but the central spike moves in the opposite direction to the two spikes forming the "X". Optimal focus is achieved when the middle spike is centered between the other two spikes.

Small deviations from optimal focus are easily visible. For astrophotography, a digital image can be analyzed by software to locate the alignment of the spikes to sub-pixel resolution.

The direction of this displacement indicates the direction of the necessary focus correction. Rotating the mask through 180° will reverse the direction of spike movement, so it is easier to use if placed on the telescope with consistent orientation. The mask must be removed after accurate focus is achieved.

In this section you'll find a huge selection of bahtinov masks to complete your telescope setup.

Can't find what you're looking for or need help selecting the best bahtinov mask for you? Contact Robtics! We are happy to help!

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