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UF astronomers start testing infrared camera at worlds largest telescope

University of Florida astronomers are testing a new infrared camera this summer at the world's largest telescope that will allow researchers to look for planets outside our own solar system and better explore hidden black holes at the centers of galaxies.
The commissioning of CanariCam, a high-tech, heat-sensitive camera, started in late June at the site of the biggest optical-infrared telescope in the world. Gran Telescopio Canarias, or Grantecan, is located at 7,438 foot-altitude on the island of La Palma, in Spain's Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa.

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UF astronomers pioneer new planet-observing technique

Using the world's largest optical telescope, a team of University of Florida astronomers has pioneered a new method of observing planets outside our solar system. The method suggests that large Earth-based telescopes could play a leading role in rapidly accelerating research on "extrasolar" planets.
The results obtained from the Gran Telescopio Canarias, a telescope in Spain's Canary Islands partially owned by the University of Florida, are of such high precision that the astronomers are already planning to use the technique to learn more about "super-Earth-sized" planets -  larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune - that have already been identified by space-based observatories.
The astronomers used the technique to study two giant, previously discovered planets passing in front of their parent stars. It minimised the atmosphere's distortion of starlight by measuring the light received within a small range of colours. The tuneable filters of the Spanish-built instrument OSIRIS, the first instrument to be mounted on the Gran Telescopio Canarias, or GTC, allowed the spectrum to be "dissected" precisely.

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Canary Islands telescopes dodge a fiery bullet
Last week's major fire on the Canary Island of La Palma, off the west coast of Africa, left the local telescopes unscathed.

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As the world's largest single optical telescope officially opens for business, some astronomers are still wondering precisely what that business should be.
The Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), which boasts a 10.4-metre mirror composed of 36 hexagonal segments, is the latest addition to the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory perched about 2,400 metres above sea level on La Palma, one of the Spanish Canary Islands.

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Devastating fires strike La Palma
The forest fire that started in the Canary Island's fifth largest island off the coast of Morocco last Friday, fanned by high winds and soaring temperatures, is still not completely under control, even though the wind has changed direction and is blowing against the fire.


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Spain Inaugurates World's Most Sophisticated Telescope
The Great Telescope of the Canary Islands, or GTC, the world's biggest and most technologically advanced, will unveil mysteries of the cosmos with its powerful mirror equivalent to the sight of 4 million pupils of the human eye.
The telescope, located on La Palma in the Spanish archipelago off the coast of West Africa, was inaugurated Friday by Spain's king and queen along with officials and representatives of the scientific community.

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A new telescope being inaugurated on Spain's Canary Islands holds the title as the world's largest, but contenders are gathering in the wings.
The Gran Telescopio Canarias, or GTC for short, has 10.4 meters of mirrors for collecting faint light from distant objects.

"Basically, a telescope mirror functions like a bucket in the rain: The larger the bucket, the faster you collect water" - Michael Richer, an astronomer with Mexico's Instituto de Astronomia Ensenada who serves as a scientific adviser for the GTC.

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The world's largest, most technologically advanced telescope is all set to make its formal debut on July 24 in Spain's Canary Islands. Known as the Gran Telescopio Canarias, the telescope has a 10.4-meter diameter mirror, and has more light-collecting area than any other telescope.

On the island La Palma, the worlds largest telescope to be unveiled by the royalty of Spain July 24

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Checking Out Stars on Worlds Largest Telescope
University of Florida astronomers are among the first to make observations of nearby galaxies using the newly completed Gran Telescopio Canarias, the worlds largest optical telescope, located in the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain.
The telescope, known as the GTC, has a unique 34.1-foot primary mirror, which allows it to see deep into the universe and examine distant objects in great detail, with way more finely detailed images than achievable with other telescopes.

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