View Full Version : ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT)

2018-Feb-18, 01:04 AM
ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) has for the first time combined light from all four of the 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes to form what is the largest optical telescope in existence in terms of collecting area.:clap:


One of the original design goals of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) was for its four Unit Telescopes (UTs) to work together to create a single giant telescope. With the first light of the ESPRESSO spectrograph using the four-Unit-Telescope mode of the VLT, this milestone has now been reached [1].

After extensive preparations by the ESPRESSO consortium (led by the Astronomical Observatory of the University of Geneva, with the participation of research centres from Italy, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland) and ESO staff, ESO’s Director General Xavier Barcons initiated this historic astronomical observation with the push of a button in the control room.

ESPRESSO instrument scientist at ESO, Gaspare Lo Curto, explains the historical significance of this event: “ESO has realised a dream that dates back to the time when the VLT was conceived in the 1980s: bringing the light from all four Unit Telescopes on Cerro Paranal together at an incoherent focus to feed a single instrument!”

When all four 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes combine their light-collecting power to feed a single instrument, the VLT effectively becomes the largest optical telescope in the world in terms of collecting area.