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RE: Very Large Telescope
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Despite the strong earthquake on Saturday, many telescopes survived.
There are many international telescopes in Chile making use of the low humidity conditions in the Chilean mountains and high-altitude deserts. But as one of the most seismically active countries in the world, many of these observatories are built on shaky ground.

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Adam Gristwood, reporting from Chile, takes a look at the huge potential of the Very Large Telescope and what it can help us to learn about the galaxy around us
As the sun sets and barren red rocks give way to millions of stars spectacularly illuminating the ink-black sky, the Atacama Desert presents ideal conditions for astronomy. Here, 70 - seemingly - lifeless miles from a remote Chilean mining town, lies the planet's most exciting telescope - the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT).
The VLT comprises four telescopes, each equipped with 8.2-metre mirrors. Using a special technique known as interferometry that combines the resolution defining power of the telescopes, the VLT is powerful enough to enable astronomers to distinguish between the two headlights of a car stationed on the surface of the Moon.

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Paranal Observatory
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VLT
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L

Posts: 130177
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RE: Very Large Telescope
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World's fastest and most sensitive astronomical camera
The next generation of instruments for ground-based telescopes took a leap forward with the development of a new ultra-fast camera that can take 1500 finely exposed images per second even when observing extremely faint objects. The first 240x240 pixel images with the world's fastest high precision faint light camera were obtained through a collaborative effort between ESO and three French laboratories from the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique/Institut National des Sciences de l'Univers (CNRS/INSU). Cameras such as this are key components of the next generation of adaptive optics instruments of Europe's ground-based astronomy flagship facility, the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT).

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La caméra astronomique la plus rapide et la plus sensible au monde
Le développement d'une nouvelle caméra ultrarapide pouvant prendre 1 500 images à la seconde dans une obscurité quasi complète constitue une avancée majeure pour la prochaine génération de télescopes au sol. Les premières images de cette caméra de haute précision en très faible lumière ont été obtenues grâce à un effort conjoint de l'ESO et de trois laboratoires français du INSU-CNRS(1). C'est un composant clé de la prochaine génération d'instruments d'optique adaptative pour le "Very Large Telescope" (VLT) de l'ESO, fer de lance européen de l'astronomie au sol.

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X-shooter
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Le Très grand télescope (Very Large Telescope VLT) de l'ESO - installation phare de l'Europe pour l'astronomie au sol - est désormais équipé de son premier instrument de seconde génération : X-shooter. Il a la capacité d'enregistrer, en une seule fois,  avec une haute sensibilité, la totalité du rayonnement (spectre) d'un objet céleste  - depuis l'infrarouge jusqu'à l'ultraviolet. Cet outil nouveau et unique sera particulièrement utile à l'étude des explosions lointaines baptisées sursauts gamma.

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Most Efficient Spectrograph to Shoot the Southern Skies
ESO's Very Large Telescope - Europe's flagship facility for ground-based astronomy - has been equipped with the first of its second generation instruments: X-shooter. It can record the entire spectrum of a celestial object in one shot - from the ultraviolet to the near-infrared - with high sensitivity. This unique new instrument will be particularly useful for the study of distant exploding objects called gamma-ray bursts.

"X-shooter offers a capability that is unique among astronomical instruments installed at large telescopes. Until now, different instruments at different telescopes and multiple observations were needed to cover this kind of wavelength range, making it very difficult to compare data, which, even though from the same object, could have been taken at different times and under different sky conditions" - Sandro D'Odorico, who coordinated the Europe-wide consortium of scientists and engineers that built this remarkable instrument.

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RE: Very Large Telescope
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On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Very Large Telescope's First Light, ESO is releasing two stunning images of different kinds of nebulae, located towards the Carina constellation. The first one, Eta Carinae, has the shape of a 'little man' and surrounds a star doomed to explode within the next 100 000 years. The second image features a much larger nebula, whose internal turmoil is created by a cluster of young, massive stars.
Being brighter than one million Suns, Eta Carinae is the most luminous star known in the Galaxy. It is the closest example of a luminous blue variable, the last phase in the life of a very massive star before it explodes in a fiery supernova.

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The ESO Very Large Telescope will consist of four 8-meter telescopes which can work independently or in combined mode. In this latter mode the VLT provides the total light collecting power of a 16 meter single telescope, making it the largest optical telescope in the world. The four 8-m telescopes supplemented with 3 auxilliary 1 m telescopes may also be used in interferometric mode providing high angular resolution imaging. The useful wavelength range extends from the near UV up to 25 microns in the infrared.
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On 26 May 1998, ESO's Very Large Telescope, the most advanced telescope in the world, had 'First Light'. This trailer reports on the VLT, its construction, its discoveries and why it is a perfect science machine. Welcome to Paranal, 2600m high in the Chilean Desert.



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