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Large Binocular Telescope Photo Gallery

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 The best pair of eyes on Earth are now wide open. The Large Binocular Telescope sits in a 17-story building atop an Arizona mountain.
LBT, as it's known for short, can probe deeper into the cosmos than any other instrument. The 580-ton telescope is twice as big as the next-largest telescope on Earth, and it has 10 times the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope. The LBT cannot see farther than Hubble, but the images it sends back are much sharper and of a much wider field than the space telescope.


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Large Binocular Telescope
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The Large Binocular Telescope on Mount Graham, Ariz., has taken celestial images using its twin side-by-side, 8.4-meter primary mirrors together, achieving first "binocular" light.
U.S., Italian and German partners in the telescope, known as the LBT, are releasing the images today. First binocular light is a milestone not only for the LBTâ now the world's most powerful telescope â but for astronomy itself, the partners say. The University of Arizona in Tucson is a quarter owner of telescope observing time.

NG2770
Credit: Large Binocular Camera team, Rome Observatory
This is the first of three LBT first binocular light images taken Jan. 11 and Jan. 12. It shows a false-colour rendition of the spiral galaxy NGC 2770. This image combines ultraviolet and green light, which enhances the clumpy regions of newly formed hot stars in the spiral arms.

The first binocular light images show three false-colour renditions of the spiral galaxy NGC 2770. The galaxy is 102 million light years from our Milky Way, a relatively close neighbour. The galaxy has a flat disk of stars and glowing gas tipped slightly toward our line of sight.

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Almost 20 years after it was first conceived, what will become the world's most powerful optical telescope is about to open its eyes.
Lying beneath the clear skies of Arizona, the $120m (£55m) Large Binocular Telescope will allow astronomers to probe the Universe further back in time and in more detail than ever before.

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Title: First Results From the Large Binocular Telescope: Deep Photometry of New dSphs
Authors: Matthew G. Coleman, Jelte de Jong (Max-Planck-Institut fur Astronomie)

This contribution describes photometry for two Galactic dSphs obtained with the Large Binocular Telescope to a magnitude of ~25.5. Using the Large Binocular Camera, a purpose-built wide-field imager for the LBT, we have examined the structure and star formation histories of two newly-discovered Local Group members, the Hercules dSph and the Leo T dSph/dIrr system. We have constructed a structural map for the Hercules system using three-filter photometry to V ~ 25.5. This is the first deep photometry for this system, and it indicates that Hercules is unusually elongated, possibly indicating distortion due to the Galactic tidal field. We have also derived the first star formation history for the Leo T system, and find that its oldest population of stars (age ~ 13 Gyr) were relatively metal-rich, with [Fe/H] ~ -1.5.

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LBT first light
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More than 400 years ago Galileo took a telescope used by sailors and pointed it toward the sky. Now scientists are using that same idea with binoculars - very big binoculars.
Ohio State scientists have collaborated with scientists from Italy, Germany and the University of Arizona to build a $120 million Large Binocular Telescope. The project, hosted by the University of Arizona, sits 10,500 feet high on Mount Graham in Arizona.
The LBT is the world's largest and most powerful telescope. It has two 27.6-foot mirrors that work in tandem and have image correcting electronics.

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NGC891
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NGC891 has a length of 13-arc minutes and visual magnitude of about 10. It is positioned at about 4 degrees east of gamma Andromedae.

Position(2000.0): R.A. 02h 22m 36.0s Dec. +42° 21' 00"

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Astronomers observing an expanding bubble from an exploded star have glimpsed what may be the youngest black hole ever detected.

"This is the first time we've seen it happen. We've never seen a supernova leave behind a black hole, and the only supernovae we've seen that left behind neutron stars are several centuries or more old, and we only know them from historical records."

NGC 891 is a member of a small group of galaxies, sometimes called the NGC 1023 group, which also contains NGCs 925, 949, 959, 1003, 1023, and 1058 as well as UGCs 1807, 1865 (DDO 19), 2014 (DDO 22), 2023 (DDO 25), 2034 (DDO 24), and 2259.

Supernova 1986J was discovered in NGC 891 by van Gorkom, Rupen, Knapp, Gunn on August 21, 1986 and reached magnitude 14.


Position(2000): RA 02h 22.6m, Dec +42 21

Radio observations of edge-on galaxy NGC 891 (30 million light-years away) show supernova 1986J near top right. Three magnified images are radio observations at certain frequencies.
Bottom (RED) image shows expanding, distorted shell of material thrown off in the explosion, with a hot spot to the lower left of the centre.
Top (PURPLE) image shows the newly discovered nebula around the black hole or neutron star.
Middle (GREEN) shows a blend of the shell and the nebula around the black hole or neutron star.

Read more (PDF) 13 May 2005

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LBT first light
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October 27, 2005
After 20 years of planning, developing and constructing, astronomers at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy have finally released the first image captured by the new Large Binocular Telescope, an instrument with a light-gathering power 24 times greater than the Hubble Space Telescope.
The so-called LBT, an American-German-Italian joint venture stationed on the 3,190-meter-high Mt. Graham in Arizona, will be able to image planets circling distant stars and is poised to help answer fundamental questions about the universe, including how galaxies, stars and planets evolved from the big bang.


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Expand (588kb, 1280x1024, full resolution, cropped)
First-light image of the Galaxy NGC891 in Andromeda, taken on the 12. October 2005 with the LBT. The galaxy is 24 Million light years away.
Press Release (MS Word format)

"The LBT will open completely new possibilities in researching planets outside the solar system and the investigation of the farthest--and thus youngest--galaxies" - Thomas Henning, Max Planck Institute for Astronomy.

To date, a handful of impressive ground-based telescopes have provided astronomers with important insights about the universe. For example, they have learned that stars form in dense cloudlike features within galaxies. But observing the intricacies of star birth is difficult with these telescopes because the radiating energy of low-mass stars and brown dwarfs is not bright enough to be visible and interstellar dust can obscure views. The Hubble Space Telescope has helped overcome some of these problems, but this kind of instrument is expensive to build, launch and maintain.

Now a combination of advanced optics, instrumentation and high-power computers is making it possible for ground-based telescopes, particularly those situated on high mountaintops, to see deeper into space than ever before at a fraction of the cost. The LBT can resolve faint objects because it has two large mirrors--each f/1.14 , 8.4 metres in diameter--that focus like field glasses for viewing. By combining the two views, the instrument is able to collect as much light as a single telescope with an 11.8-metre mirror. By comparison, the Hubble Space Telescope's mirror is 2.4 metres in diameter.

The entire telescope is 24 meters wide by 15 meters deep and 21 meters high. Despite carrying two 8.4 meter mirrors, the innovative design leads to a total telescope weight of only 380 tonnes, significantly less than that of a conventional telescope with a single, 3.5 meter mirror.



But the LBT doesn't rely only on its mirrors. It uses optics designed to adapt to observing conditions and it works with a combination of specialized instruments that can do such things as gather infrared images, detect the composition of the surface of stars, compensate for the blurring caused by turbulence in Earth's atmosphere, and boost image sharpness to a quality far better than that of Hubble.

For the "first light" image, astronomers used just one of LBT's mirrors to capture a spiral galaxy in the constellation Andromeda. In the future, they will use both mirrors to conduct a number of studies, including observing the Jupiterlike planets known to be revolving around our nearest neighbouring stars.

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