Space Explorers

The eye possesses similar properties to the data collectors that an astronomer would use to study space. In this week's laboratory, we will investigate the concept of resolution.

Our ability to see depends on the photoreceptor cells lining the back of the eye on the retina. Each of these cells has a certain size, and when an image is projected onto them, this size will affect how well we can discern image details. This property relates to the pixels that determine resolution in digital cameras, including the ones used today by astronomers.

Today we will investigate how pixel (or cell) size influences the ability to see crisp and sharp images. We start by overlaying a grid on a black & white picture. For each "pixel", we replace that part of the image by a dot whose size corresponds to how dark that region is. If the set pixel size is too large, it is impossible to tell what the image is. As soon as the pixel size decreases, however, the original image begins to take form.