Definition of resolving power in US English:

resolving power


  • 1The ability of an optical instrument or type of film to separate or distinguish small or closely adjacent images.

    • ‘The city's skyscrapers give the landscape a lumpy appearance, but the instrument's resolving power fails to distinguish individual buildings.’
    • ‘In other words, a telescope must have sufficient resolving power to distinguish individual Cepheids from all the other stars in the galaxy.’
    • ‘For any optical system a measure of the best-possible resolution or resolving power is simply the ratio of the wavelength to the diameter of the aperture.’
    • ‘Students of medicine, in particular, and of biology will find that the light microscope is the most important tool they will use, in spite of physical limitations in its resolving power.’
    • ‘He did not need enormous magnification, but he did require considerable resolving power in order to make out the separate stars.’
    1. 1.1 The ability of an electronic device to produce images that can be distinguished.