View Full Version : Binocular Telescope Sees First Light

2005-Oct-26, 07:16 PM
SUMMARY: The massive Large Binocular Telescope, mounted atop Mount Graham in Arizona achieved a major milestone on October 12 with its first images - known as first light. The telescope is so powerful because it combines the light from its twin 8.4 metre mirrors to act as a single 11.8 metre observatory. And its adaptive optics system, which compensates for atmospheric disturbance, makes it even more powerful.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/binocular_telescope_first_light.html)
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2005-Oct-26, 08:27 PM
Here (http://medusa.as.arizona.edu/lbto/FL/main.htm) is a link to the telescope website, with the first light picture right at top.

2005-Oct-27, 04:56 PM
I understand that the LBT first light image used only one of the two mirros. That means no interferometry. There was also no adaptive optics involved. That's still an 8.4 meter telescope, which beats my club's largest scope: 0.56 meters, and my club's largest scope set up for astrophography: 0.32 meters, hands down.

The press release compares the LBT to the HST. The real comparison should be to the Keck, or VLT. The Keck and VLT have demonstrated adaptive optics. The Keck has demonstrated adaptive optics with an artificial star (laser) - maybe the VLT has as well. At least one of the two has demonstrated interferometry (I don't recall which). These are hard things to do.

Where the LBT shines compared to the Keck is cost. The LBT will get 11.8 meters of light gathering and, eventually, 22.8 meters of resolving power compared with 14 meters of resolving power. The Keck (will?) get 14 meters of light gathering and 100 meters of resolving power. But the LBT is comparitivly cheap. Unless you're a squirrel.

The Keck already does infrared and spectroscopy. These are coming to the LBT.

I'd be proud to have the LBT in my back yard. Except that my back yard isn't big enough for a 22.8 meter anything, and as my back yard is less than 20 kilometers from Detroit, it suffers from magnitude 3 skies, improving to mag 4 during a blackout. I'd want it at my summer resort, on the top of Mt. Graham, if I owned such a summer resort. :whistle:

The overal design of the LBT can be found here:

Fred Dashevsky
2005-Nov-02, 05:43 PM
I know hubble has the ability to resolve to about 50 -100 meters when focused on the moon, how tight a resolution would this new telescope have ?