VLT activates 4 telescopes for the first time

VLT activates 4 telescopes for the first time

The ESPRESSO tool on the Very Large Telescope (Chile) first used the combined light of all four 8.2-meter telescopes. Because of this, he became the largest optical telescope in terms of data collection. The picture in simplified form shows how the collected light is combined in ESPRESSO

The ESPRESSO instrument on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) for the first time used light from all four 8.2-meter telescopes. This made it the largest optical telescope in terms of data collection.

One of the original goals of the VLT design was for all its telescopes to work together and form a large-scale structure. With the first use of ESPRESSO, this idea was executed.

VLT was conceived back in the 1980s, so the union of all telescopes realized the long-held dream of the telescope team. Two of the main scientific goals of ESPRESSO are the discovery and description of terrestrial planets and the search for possible variability of the fundamental physical constants. Recent experiments require observation of distant and weak quasars, which can be performed with combined telescopes. The process is complicated as it encounters “incoherent focus”. The implementation was delayed for a long time, but the space for the tool was allocated from the very beginning. A system of mirrors, prisms and lenses transmits light from each telescope to the ESPRESSO spectrograph at a distance of 69 m. This sophisticated optics allows to receive light from all modules and increase the ability to track light.

Delivering the combined light into a single instrument will allow scientists access to previously unknown objects and new information. The mission uses new concepts, such as wavelength calibration using a laser frequency scale. This will ensure unprecedented accuracy of observations.

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