By Kurt Bryan

Mathematics, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute IN USA

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This project models the ``Foucault Knife Edge Test,'' an optical test commonly used by amateur astronomers who make their own mirrors for reflecting telescopes. The goal of the test is to estimate the shape of the surface of a mirror from optical reflection data. The model results in a very simple first order nonlinear ordinary differential equation (ODE) that has no closed-form solution. Moreover, one of the components of the ODE is a function that must be estimated from the collected data; some real data from a mirror the author made is included. A computer algebra system can be helpful for performing computations, and sample Maple and Mathematica files are provided.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Kurt Bryan (2019), "1-082-S-MirrorMirror," https://www.simiode.org/resources/6316.

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