NPOI - Naval Prototype Optical Interferometer  
Naval Prototype Optical Interferometer U.S. Naval Observatory Naval Prototype Optical Interferometer Naval Research Laboratory Naval Prototype Optical Interferometer Lowell Observatory
Naval Prototype Optical Interferometer Naval Prototype Optical Interferometer Naval Prototype Optical Interferometer Naval Prototype Optical Interferometer Naval Prototype Optical Interferometer
U.S. Naval Observatory Naval Research Laboratory
Lowell Observatory

Welcome to the home page of the Navy Prototype Optical Interferometer

NPOI

Welcome to the home page of the Navy Prototype Optical Interferometer, NPOI. At this site you can learn about what the NPOI is and how it is used, how the NPOI has developed over time, and its contributions to research. You can find out what's new at the NPOI, and you can take an online tour of the interferometer.

NPOI is a specialized astronomical telescope called an interferometer. Instead of a single telescope, an array of six mirrors spaced tens of meters apart precisely direct beams of light from a star to a point. Extraordinary image detail can be derived from the resulting data.

NPOI can record images of stars and optically separate distant pairs of stars so close together that they appear as a single star in even the largest conventional telescopes. NPOI has the ability to measure the precise relative positions of stars across the sky which the Naval Observatory uses as a reference system for the determination of positions on earth and in space and for monitoring time keeping. Currently operating at about one-fourth of its designed capability, when finished the interferometer will span the distance of over four football field lengths, 430 meters.

NPOI is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Naval Observatory, the Naval Research Laboratory, and Lowell Observatory with construction beginning in 1992. It is located about 15 miles southeast of Flagstaff Arizona on the Lowell Observatory observing site within the Coconino National Forest.





U.S. Naval Observatory Naval Research Laboratory Lowell Observatory