active optics

noun plural in form but usually singular in construction

: an optical telescopic system that improves image resolution by compensating for distortions in the material or shape of a mirror
Another technological trick called active optics will nullify changes in the telescope's structure that result from the effects of gravity and temperature.Thomas Levenson, Discover, February 2006
compare adaptive optics

Word History

First Known Use

1968, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of active optics was in 1968

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Dictionary Entries Near active optics

Cite this Entry

“Active optics.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!